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Samantha Cristoforetti has been at 3 events

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European Space Agency, ESA448,774ESA astronaut @112628950566484266163 joins us from Star City, just one day before she departs to Baikonur Cosmodrome. From there she will launch to the International Space Station on 23 November for a six-month stay. Post your questions for Samantha in the comments below or on Twitter using #ESAhangout - and tune in at 16:00 CET (15:00 UTC) on 10 November. Connect with Samantha: samanthacristoforetti.esa.intESAHangout with Samantha Cristoforetti2014-11-10 16:00:00161  
European Space Agency, ESA448,774ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will join us from Star City, near Moscow. She is currently acting as backup to ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst for his launch to the International Space Station on 28 May. Samantha, Alexander and the other members of the backup and prime crews will depart for Baikonur Cosmodrome on 15 May. Samantha will herself fly to the ISS in November for her Futura mission. #ESAhangout #Futura42  Hangout with ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti2014-05-14 16:00:00200  
Ron Garan3,907,088Come join Italian Air Force fighter pilot and European Space Agency astronaut @112628950566484266163 and I for a G+ hangout this Friday at 10:30am Central. Let's talk space and Samantha's upcoming mission to the International Space Station as a crew member of Expedition 42! @116214152295449083654 Hangout with Astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti & Ron Garan2013-01-18 10:30:00292  

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 351

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2015-06-14 13:45:25 (351 comments; 186 reshares; 2,585 +1s; )Open 

First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! 

Most reshares: 186

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2015-06-14 13:45:25 (351 comments; 186 reshares; 2,585 +1s; )Open 

First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! 

Most plusones: 2585

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2015-06-14 13:45:25 (351 comments; 186 reshares; 2,585 +1s; )Open 

First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! 

Latest 50 posts

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2015-09-10 14:00:52 (102 comments; 73 reshares; 683 +1s; )Open 

L+200: Logbook - Part 5

[cont.] As you might have guessed, there was one last leak check to be performed before undocking: the leak check of the hatch between the descent module and the orbital module. Eventually, we would separate from the orbital module and the descent module hatch would be the one protecting us from vacuum!

Right now, of course, the pressure across the hatch was roughly equal: after all, we had just closed it a few minutes earlier. To perform a leak check, we had to create a pressure differential and to do that we would vent some air from the orbital module into space via the relief valve. Anton selected the closing command on his display, so that he would be able to reclose the valve with a simple button push. Once that was done, I opened the relief valve. On our life support display we watched the pressure in the orbital module drop, until Anton sent the... more »

L+200: Logbook - Part 5

[cont.] As you might have guessed, there was one last leak check to be performed before undocking: the leak check of the hatch between the descent module and the orbital module. Eventually, we would separate from the orbital module and the descent module hatch would be the one protecting us from vacuum!

Right now, of course, the pressure across the hatch was roughly equal: after all, we had just closed it a few minutes earlier. To perform a leak check, we had to create a pressure differential and to do that we would vent some air from the orbital module into space via the relief valve. Anton selected the closing command on his display, so that he would be able to reclose the valve with a simple button push. Once that was done, I opened the relief valve. On our life support display we watched the pressure in the orbital module drop, until Anton sent the command to close the valve. We had created a pressure differential of about 150 mm Hg and now we would check for any pressure equalization across the hatch: maximum acceptable pressure drop in the descent module was 25 mm Hg in 25 minutes. At the end of the monitoring time we were well within that requirement: leak check passed!

Finally, it was time to wait. Patiently. For almost an hour: a buffer time inserted in our timeline in case of problems. Let’s imagine, for example, an issue with the suit leak check: we would have disconnected and reconnected the gloves, opened and reclosed the helmet, making really sure that no debris was caught in the sealing surface, and then we would have performed the leak check again. Or let’s say that the descent module hatch would have failed the leak check: we would have equalized the pressure, opened the hatch, verified that the sealing surfaces were intact and clean and then reclosed for another leak check. All things that require time. But since everything had gone smoothly in our pre-departure ops, there we were, fully strapped in our seats, waiting. 

It’s nice not to be rushed, but of course the “sitting” position in the Soyuz is not the most comfortable one, even for a small person like me – I can imagine how painful it can be for bigger crewmembers to sit for so long with the knees bent towards the chest!

We talked, we joked, we took some glances out the windows, we reviewed procedures for the upcoming reentry, we thought about our friends on the Space Station, still so close, but already belonging to another world.

Then, at 13:17:30 Moscow time I sent the command to turn on the Soyuz docking system. One minute later, at 13:18:30 I sent the next command: Hooks Open. The electrical motors of the docking system started to drive the hooks that kept us attached to the Space Station to the open position. Within a couple of minutes the hooks were fully open and the spring-loaded pushers imparted to our Soyuz a separation velocity: on the periscope view in front of Anton’s central seat we could observe the docking port further and further away. That was it, we were leaving. Good bye Space Station! Good bye Scott, Misha, Gennady! [cont]

Photo: our Soyuz departing from ISS

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio  
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-09-07 13:58:01 (40 comments; 42 reshares; 557 +1s; )Open 

L+200: Logbook - Part 4

This is the fourth entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

Strapping in in the Soyuz is not as quick as fastening your seatbelt: the space is cramped, the position uncomfortable, some of the straps are hard to reach. Additionally, as I had learned during our Sokol leak check, being weightless doesn’t make it any easier, since your body doesn’t stay put in the seat. So I was glad when everything was done: oxygen and ventilation hoses attached, com and biomedical cables connected, shoulder, lap and knee straps fastened. I didn’t tighten them, since it would still be several hours before the deorbit burn and our re-entry in the atmosphere. In spite of the physical effort of strapping in, I still didn’t feel too warm in the Sokol, so I did not turn on the suit ventilation, enjoying a few more minutesof quie... more »

L+200: Logbook - Part 4

This is the fourth entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

Strapping in in the Soyuz is not as quick as fastening your seatbelt: the space is cramped, the position uncomfortable, some of the straps are hard to reach. Additionally, as I had learned during our Sokol leak check, being weightless doesn’t make it any easier, since your body doesn’t stay put in the seat. So I was glad when everything was done: oxygen and ventilation hoses attached, com and biomedical cables connected, shoulder, lap and knee straps fastened. I didn’t tighten them, since it would still be several hours before the deorbit burn and our re-entry in the atmosphere. In spite of the physical effort of strapping in, I still didn’t feel too warm in the Sokol, so I did not turn on the suit ventilation, enjoying a few more minutes of quietness.

Over the radio came the dear, familiar voice of our Soyuz instructor, Dima, who would be on space-to-ground from Moscow today, just like he had been our “control center voice” for hundreds of hours in the simulator back in Star City. He asked me for the status of our suit donning ops and I reported that I was strapped in and Anton was helping Terry in the orbital module. Then I selected the page on my command-and-control display showing the technical parameters of our vehicle. Everything looked good, except that our CO2 level was trending high, close to 4 mm Hg. I was about to report it, but Mission Control Moscow was obviously watching it already via telemetry: Dima instructed me over the radio to activate our CO2 scrubbing now, a bit earlier than it would have been foreseen in the checklist. 

A few more pressure reports from Terry and Anton, which I relayed to Moscow, and the leak check was deemed complete and passed: undocking from the ISS was safe. By the way, I should add that we had also performed a check of the attitude thrusters a few days before undocking. First, the flight controllers had taken the ISS in drift mode, meaning that the Station would allow itself to be brought slightly out of attitude by the Soyuz thrusters firings, without actively trying to compensate for those disturbances. Then Anton and I had taken our seats in the Soyuz, we had configured Soyuz systems so that the manual controls would control thrusters firings and Anton had deflected the controllers in all six degrees of freedom in sequence, giving us a chance to make sure that they would react properly to all control inputs, both the in primary and backup control loop.

Back to the departure day, it was now Terry’s turn to strap himself in the seat. Within a few minutes Anton also joined us in the descent module, closing the hatch that separated us from the orbital module.

Once we were all strapped in, we put on the gloves and closed the helmet to start the leak check of our suits. First we turned the blue regulator valve on our chests to the closed position and the simple ventilation flow from the fans blew up our suits just slightly. Then Anton gave a short 5-seconds countdown, at the end of which he started the stopwatch, as I simultaneously opened the valve that started an oxygen flow into our suits. We each monitored the increase of suit pressure on our wrist manometer and reported when we reached 0,1 atm and 3,5 atm, so that Anton could write down the “filling times”. The ground was also following along, since we had locked-in the transmit button before starting the leak check.
After reaching 3.5 atm each of us let the suit deflate, controlling the flow rate with the regulator valve in order to give time to our ears to compensate for the pressure drop. Then we opened our helmet and I closed the supply line from the oxygen tanks. We would not remove the gloves any more until after landing.

Good news: all of our suits had “filled up” within the required time, passing the leak check. Another potential hurdle on our departure schedule was behind us!

Photo: from this screenshot from our launch video you can see how cramped it is in the Soyuz!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-09-04 09:16:42 (61 comments; 60 reshares; 743 +1s; )Open 

L+200: Logbook - Part 3

This is the third entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

[cont.] After depressurizing the vestibule, we observed for a few minutes the pressure indications for the descent module and the orbital module of our Soyuz: both stable, so there was no obvious, fast leak. (Not that we were expecting one!).
Of course we needed to check for a slow leak as well, before we committed to leaving the Station and relying on the Soyuz hatch to keep our air inside. The full leak check would take 30 min, with measurements of the vestibule pressure recorded every 5 min, but since there was no fast pressure drop it was safe for us to reopen the hatch of the descent module and float back to the orbital module to don our Sokol suits.
 
I went first, as we had planned. Anton and Terry stayed in the descent module... more »

L+200: Logbook - Part 3

This is the third entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

[cont.] After depressurizing the vestibule, we observed for a few minutes the pressure indications for the descent module and the orbital module of our Soyuz: both stable, so there was no obvious, fast leak. (Not that we were expecting one!).
Of course we needed to check for a slow leak as well, before we committed to leaving the Station and relying on the Soyuz hatch to keep our air inside. The full leak check would take 30 min, with measurements of the vestibule pressure recorded every 5 min, but since there was no fast pressure drop it was safe for us to reopen the hatch of the descent module and float back to the orbital module to don our Sokol suits.
 
I went first, as we had planned. Anton and Terry stayed in the descent module while I used the Soyuz toilet. I wanted to empty my bladder as late as possible: I did wear a diaper, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to use it in the several hours of weightlessness that still lay between us and the deorbit burn. Somehow diapers and weightlessness don’t get along for me, as I had experienced during ascent.
 
I put on my biomedical belt in direct contact with the skin and then my Sokol underwear, periodically calling the vestibule pressure readings from the manovacumeter to Anton and Terry, so they could report them to the ground. Over the course of 30 minutes, the maximum allowed pressure increase to call the hatches air tight was 1 mm Hg.
 
Anton joined me in the orbital module to help me don the Sokol. To make things faster, I basically held on to keep myself as still as possible and let Anton take care of tying and zipping up everything. One of the cool things about being an astronaut: you can let somebody else dress you as an adult and nobody laughs at you!
 
As Anton pointed out, we didn’t have a whole lot of time. Because of a test of the Kurs antennas, which would run in the background during our undocking, the ground was going to send the activation command of the guidance and navigation system over an hour earlier than they normally would on a typical departure day schedule. We were already talking Moscow-time at that point, since this the time on which we run Soyuz ops: the night before we had diligently written the significant times in our checklists, based on the radiogram sent up by Mission Control Moscow. Not only vacuum separated us now from the Space Station but, in a way, also three hours!
 
After I was all dressed up in my Sokol, which would keep me alive in case of depressurization during re-entry, I took a last sip of water from a bag that would stay in the orbital module, grabbed one last snack and then floated to my seat in the descent module. It didn’t escape me that those were my last few seconds of free floating: once strapped in in my seat, I wouldn’t unstrap until after landing on Earth. [cont]

Photo: in the Sokol a few days before undocking for a preliminary leak check.

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-09-03 06:37:12 (28 comments; 46 reshares; 618 +1s; )Open 

L+200: Logbook - Part 2

This is the second  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!
 
11 June 2015
In spite of the busy pre-departure schedule, I did find the time for one last tour of the Space Station: just a quick float-through, trying to soak it in and fix it all in my memory. Oh, and one flight last across the Lab, pushing off the handrails on the one end just the right way to fly straight to the other hatchway. Seems so natural, those clumsy first days when flying was a challenge are many month in the past. 
 
I trashed my last toiletry items left in Node 3 and also a few last pieces of clothing left in my crew quarters from the night, after which I only "owned" the clothes I was wearing. I logged off my personal laptops: should anyone write an email to me in space from now on, I willnev... more »

L+200: Logbook - Part 2

This is the second  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!
 
11 June 2015
In spite of the busy pre-departure schedule, I did find the time for one last tour of the Space Station: just a quick float-through, trying to soak it in and fix it all in my memory. Oh, and one flight last across the Lab, pushing off the handrails on the one end just the right way to fly straight to the other hatchway. Seems so natural, those clumsy first days when flying was a challenge are many month in the past. 
 
I trashed my last toiletry items left in Node 3 and also a few last pieces of clothing left in my crew quarters from the night, after which I only "owned" the clothes I was wearing. I logged off my personal laptops: should anyone write an email to me in space from now on, I will never read it, since I will never have access to this email address again. I took one last look in Columbus, to make sure I was leaving it in good shape. Silly, in a way, I have no more formal responsibility for Columbus than for any other place on Station, but I guess I have always felt a bit in charge of this piece of Europe in space. Finally, I showed Scott where he could find my left-over bonus food. I ran out of olive oil a few days ago: I guess it's really time to leave.
 
At 6 am I joined Anton in the Soyuz for to perform a few checks and activation tasks. Everything went smoothly and quickly. Then it was time to stow some water and a last minute snacks in the orbital module of the Soyuz, verify that all the checklists were present and wait for hatch closing time, around 7 am.
 
We had said our good byes last night, taking our time over dinner, but it was still an intense moment when we exchanged one last hug with Scott, Gennady and Misha. Even more so, when Anton and Gennady closed the hatches. For a moment I became acutely aware of the fact that life would continue on ISS, but we would no longer be part of it. But there was no time to linger on that thought,  now we had to focus on getting safely back to Earth. The nice thing about spaceflight is that there is always a hatch closure to signal unambiguously that something has finished and it's time to focus on what's coming next.
  
First priority: get all the pre-departure operations done properly and in time, starting with the leak check of the Soyuz and Station hatches. As you can probably guess, if you've been following this logbook, to do that we needed to depressurize the vestibule, the space between that two hatches. For safety (should the Soyuz external hatch actually leak) we all went to our place in the descent module and closed the hatch, to isolate ourselves from the orbital module. Then I sent the command to open the vestibule venting valve and we watched the pressure in the vestibule drop to almost zero. Although we were still solidly attached to the Space Station, there was now vacuum separating us from our friends inside.  [cont.]


#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-09-01 22:09:39 (51 comments; 82 reshares; 674 +1s; )Open 

L+200: Logbook - Part 1

After a summer of rehab and debriefs (and yes, 2 weeks of vacation), time to wrap up the story of my mission to ISS. This is the first  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

11 June 2015
Looks like this time they mean it: after a delay of one month, this time they really want us to go home.

It was an early wake-up for our very last day on ISS: the morning Daily Planning Conference, our tagup with the control centers to start the day, was scheduled for 1 am! But we did go to sleep in the early afternoon yesterday, in fact we have been sleep shifting for a couple of days. Undocking is not until 10:18 am, but there's a lot to do before we can send that command to open the hooks that keep our Soyuz attached to the Space Station. And if you’re imagining us taking our time to sayou... more »

L+200: Logbook - Part 1

After a summer of rehab and debriefs (and yes, 2 weeks of vacation), time to wrap up the story of my mission to ISS. This is the first  entry in a final series of logbooks looking back at departure, landing and re-adaptation!

11 June 2015
Looks like this time they mean it: after a delay of one month, this time they really want us to go home.

It was an early wake-up for our very last day on ISS: the morning Daily Planning Conference, our tagup with the control centers to start the day, was scheduled for 1 am! But we did go to sleep in the early afternoon yesterday, in fact we have been sleep shifting for a couple of days. Undocking is not until 10:18 am, but there's a lot to do before we can send that command to open the hooks that keep our Soyuz attached to the Space Station. And if you’re imagining us taking our time to say our mental farewell, leisurely savoring our last few hours in space…well, of course you’re not, you know better than that!

In fact, the morning was busy as ever. Scott and I were in Columbus even before DPC, assisting each other with our blood draws. This was a so-called “ambient blood draw”, meaning that the tubes don’t go into the MELFI freezers, but return to Earth on the Soyuz instead. They will be retrieved from the descent modules right after we are extracted. The blood draw in itself was no different than any other we’ve done, but the packing instructions did look daunting, especially regarding some particular tubes that Scott uses for his Twin Study. I will be forever grateful to him for offering to taking care of all the packing on his own, so I could save some time for a final tour of the Space Station. Thanks Scott!

However, I did get my share of packing as well. Remember the Stem Cells Differentiation experiment from the L+141/144 Logbook? (https://plus.google.com/photos/+SamanthaCristoforetti/albums/6138605812631231809)
Well, those samples need to go home today as well, so I got to retrieve them from MELFI and pack them in insulated pouches for return. There isn’t much space in the Soyuz descent module, as you can imagine, so we try to pack things as compact as possible. In case of early-retrieval items, we put the number of the package on a green label and we also take a picture, that will be made available to the retrieval team at the landing site, so they know exactly what to look for. Of course, Anton is loading the Soyuz exactly according to the cargo plan: having the center of mass in the right place is important in a space vehicle, especially if it’s your ride back to Earth!

By the way, it’s not only blood that I have been donating to science today. First thing after waking up for the last time in my floating sleeping bag, I took three different saliva samples – a 10-min routine that I have performed many times by now for the experiments Microbiome and Salivary markers. Oh, and don’t forget urine collection! I will be filling out urine tubes and putting them into the MELFI freezer at every void until hatch closure. The glamour of spaceflight...

Picture: retrieving the Stem Cell Differentiation samples from the MELFI freezer.

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int
RICORDATE DI VOTARE PER AVAMPOSTO42 AI MACCHIANERA ITALIAN AWARDS!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=822247314539790

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsche Übersetzung von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad RUS) Русский перевод +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-07-15 16:21:04 (21 comments; 21 reshares; 361 +1s; )Open 

"People are always going to need some reinforcement that amazing things are possible"

Great interview with my friend +Cady Coleman !

"People are always going to need some reinforcement that amazing things are possible"

Great interview with my friend +Cady Coleman !___

posted image

2015-07-15 12:46:22 (26 comments; 39 reshares; 507 +1s; )Open 

A children’s book on Samantha Cristoforetti’s space mission
Uma la chiocciola in orbita (Uma the snail in orbit) is a new Italian illustrated children’s book inspired by +Samantha Cristoforetti's space mission. Intended for for 5-8 years old kids, it’s the story of Uma, a snail who somehow gets to the ISS while Samantha is aboard for her mission.

My photo shows the book’s cover. It was written by Manuela Aguzzi and illustrated by Andrea Mariconti, and Samantha contributed the preface: http://www.amazon.it/dp/886945018X

The illustrations are realistic and lively, I love the way even the book’s layout reminds of the space and weightlessness environment.

Manuela knows space well as she’s an Astronaut Instructor at ESA. I interviewed her for the +AstronautiCAST podcast of +ISAA - Italian Space and Astronautics Association, a space outreachorganization I... more »

A children’s book on Samantha Cristoforetti’s space mission
Uma la chiocciola in orbita (Uma the snail in orbit) is a new Italian illustrated children’s book inspired by +Samantha Cristoforetti's space mission. Intended for for 5-8 years old kids, it’s the story of Uma, a snail who somehow gets to the ISS while Samantha is aboard for her mission.

My photo shows the book’s cover. It was written by Manuela Aguzzi and illustrated by Andrea Mariconti, and Samantha contributed the preface: http://www.amazon.it/dp/886945018X

The illustrations are realistic and lively, I love the way even the book’s layout reminds of the space and weightlessness environment.

Manuela knows space well as she’s an Astronaut Instructor at ESA. I interviewed her for the +AstronautiCAST podcast of +ISAA - Italian Space and Astronautics Association, a space outreach organization I’m on the board of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYPHXUpXK8c

We at ISAA are honored to have endorsed the book together with +Video of Wefly! Team.

#Futura42___

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2015-07-12 08:26:20 (35 comments; 46 reshares; 538 +1s; )Open 

Thanks to the folks at the Cosmonaut Training Center for this beautiful video summary of our training in Star City and our Soyuz flights to and from the Space Station.

It was shown on Friday at the Welcome Home ceremony in Star City. Very moving!

#Futura42  

___Thanks to the folks at the Cosmonaut Training Center for this beautiful video summary of our training in Star City and our Soyuz flights to and from the Space Station.

It was shown on Friday at the Welcome Home ceremony in Star City. Very moving!

#Futura42  

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2015-06-14 13:45:25 (351 comments; 186 reshares; 2,585 +1s; )Open 

First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! 

First breakfast in my temporary Houston home, enjoying sounds, smells, flavors of Earth. Doing great, but gravity is tough! ___

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2015-06-10 06:19:31 (76 comments; 64 reshares; 573 +1s; )Open 

After readings in Italian and Russian, ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti was keen to do a reading in English - after suggestions from her followers on social media, she chose to read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Iza Trapini - show it to your kids tonight for a special good night from space at bedtime!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e2_i7zDur0

After readings in Italian and Russian, ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti was keen to do a reading in English - after suggestions from her followers on social media, she chose to read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Iza Trapini - show it to your kids tonight for a special good night from space at bedtime!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e2_i7zDur0___

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2015-06-08 21:10:47 (35 comments; 69 reshares; 535 +1s; )Open 

Where do astronauts sleep? ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti takes us on a tour of her crew quarters on board the +International Space Station!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUzva6lRQQ

Where do astronauts sleep? ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti takes us on a tour of her crew quarters on board the +International Space Station!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUzva6lRQQ___

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2015-06-06 12:24:51 (45 comments; 69 reshares; 487 +1s; )Open 

ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti has many special ingredients with her on the International Space Station - find out more about her #spacefood in this blog entry "Cooking in space in at the restaurant at the end of the Universe": http://outpost42.esa.int/blog/cooking-in-space-at-the-restaurant-at-the-end-of-the-universe/

This video shows one of the dishes Samantha has enjoyed in space. What meals would you cook with her ingredients? Send us your #SpaceFoodAtHome pics... and Samantha might try out your recipe!

ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti has many special ingredients with her on the International Space Station - find out more about her #spacefood in this blog entry "Cooking in space in at the restaurant at the end of the Universe": http://outpost42.esa.int/blog/cooking-in-space-at-the-restaurant-at-the-end-of-the-universe/

This video shows one of the dishes Samantha has enjoyed in space. What meals would you cook with her ingredients? Send us your #SpaceFoodAtHome pics... and Samantha might try out your recipe!___

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2015-06-02 07:16:26 (19 comments; 22 reshares; 325 +1s; )Open 

+Argotec chef Stefano Polato shows us one of the healthy recipes that is included in the bonus space food that ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti has with her on board the #ISS : whole red rice, chicken and vegetables, with the spicy and gilded touch of turmeric

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qku3aZpnU88

+Argotec chef Stefano Polato shows us one of the healthy recipes that is included in the bonus space food that ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti has with her on board the #ISS : whole red rice, chicken and vegetables, with the spicy and gilded touch of turmeric

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qku3aZpnU88___

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2015-05-25 14:57:39 (39 comments; 81 reshares; 638 +1s; )Open 

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels…”  ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti marks #TowelDay on the International Space Station #TheAnswerIs42

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpQfWLkKbhw

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels…”  ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti marks #TowelDay on the International Space Station #TheAnswerIs42

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpQfWLkKbhw___

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2015-05-23 07:32:00 (27 comments; 42 reshares; 443 +1s; )Open 

A bedtime story (in Italian) from ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station. Samantha reads 'Il pianeta di cioccolato' (The chocolate planet) by children's writer Gianni Rodari.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzi6zrBeSF8

(Also available in Russian! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GRHkF07rlE)

A bedtime story (in Italian) from ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station. Samantha reads 'Il pianeta di cioccolato' (The chocolate planet) by children's writer Gianni Rodari.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzi6zrBeSF8

(Also available in Russian! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GRHkF07rlE)___

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2015-05-13 08:22:27 (111 comments; 109 reshares; 1,095 +1s; )Open 

L+170: Logbook

Have you heard the news?

Today,  Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has officially announced that our landing is delayed until early June, which means that… Terry, Anton and I get to stay a few extra weeks in space! 

As I’m writing this I just can’t believe that our original landing date was tomorrow and I would now be about to jump in my ISS sleeping bag for the very last time. I suppose I wasn’t mentally ready to leave quite yet, partly due for sure to the fact that this change of plans has been in the air for quite some time.

After the loss of Progress 59P two weeks ago, we all immediately realized that the next Soyuz launch would likely be delayed to buy time for a full investigation, implementation of any corrective actions deemed necessary and possibly the launch of another unmanned vehicle first.

Whether ourreturn wo... more »

L+170: Logbook

Have you heard the news?

Today,  Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has officially announced that our landing is delayed until early June, which means that… Terry, Anton and I get to stay a few extra weeks in space! 

As I’m writing this I just can’t believe that our original landing date was tomorrow and I would now be about to jump in my ISS sleeping bag for the very last time. I suppose I wasn’t mentally ready to leave quite yet, partly due for sure to the fact that this change of plans has been in the air for quite some time.

After the loss of Progress 59P two weeks ago, we all immediately realized that the next Soyuz launch would likely be delayed to buy time for a full investigation, implementation of any corrective actions deemed necessary and possibly the launch of another unmanned vehicle first.

Whether our return would be postponed as well was less clear: on the one hand there are obvious advantages in having a full crew complement onboard, on the other hand we had just lost a cargo resupply ship and consumables might have been an issue (turned out they aren’t).

As we waited for the ISS partner agencies to make a decision, we were scheduled last week for all the activities required to keep us on track for a nominal landing: we performed a leak check of our Sokol pressure suits (leak check passed!); we fit checked our Kentavr compression shorts; we continued to pre-gather cargo for our Soyuz, including our personal 1,5 kg allocation and we packed our few other personal items for return to Earth on Dragon. Anton and I refreshed our manual reentry skills.  Since a final decision about delaying our landing had not been made, we had to be ready.

However the Soyuz thrusters’ test, which was scheduled early on Friday morning, was canceled and at that point it was clear that we weren’t going home on May 13th. Ready and happy to stay!

And no worries: I still have underwear, socks and even one of my bonus food containers left. I’m really glad that I saved some of those basic supplies, just in case! I was also able to recover a couple of brand new T-shirts that I had already used to wrap some Dragon return items: they might have some glue residue from the gray tape on them, but they’ll do the trick if I need them!

Talking about Dragon, looks like Terry and I will unexpectedly be around for the full SpaceX-6 mission: we’re diligently packing and loading bags clearing space on ISS, which is always welcome.

We’re also doing more preparatory work to move PMM to the Node 3 forward location and… who knows?  The actual move might actually happen soon, instead of next summer. Since we’re not going anywhere for a while, the planners will find ways to make good use of our time onboard.

And I would be thrilled about enjoying, even for a few days, a 360 degrees unrestricted view from the Cupola!

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad Russo)+Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-05-10 21:55:41 (27 comments; 56 reshares; 461 +1s; )Open 

An interesting education video recorded by ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station - all about centre of mass, freefall and orbits. With a guest appearance from our favourite ESA Kids mascot...

#education  

An interesting education video recorded by ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station - all about centre of mass, freefall and orbits. With a guest appearance from our favourite ESA Kids mascot...

#education  ___

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2015-05-10 12:33:45 (25 comments; 53 reshares; 459 +1s; )Open 

ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti continues her tour of the ISS, with a look at the International Space Station toilet!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-65mBQ7s_Q

ESA astronaut +Samantha Cristoforetti continues her tour of the ISS, with a look at the International Space Station toilet!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-65mBQ7s_Q___

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2015-05-06 06:17:34 (34 comments; 41 reshares; 566 +1s; )Open 

L+159 to L+160: Logbook

Friday was one of those days when periodic bathroom visits are a bit more complicated than usual… it was time for another 24-hour urine collection, followed on Saturday morning by a blood draw, this time with “Scott the Vampire” who helped me fill up seven tubes of blood.

These collections were in support of the Cardio-Ox experiment, which I have talked about in the last logbook, as well as the “Biochemical Profile” and “Repository” projects of the Johnson Space Center.

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/axE9J9sP6ZY

These are not actual experiments, but rather aim at providing data that can potentially support a variety of research, both current and future, into the human adaptation to spaceflight. 

“Biochemical Profile” tests urine and blood samples for a number of proteins andchemicals, which a... more »

L+159 to L+160: Logbook

Friday was one of those days when periodic bathroom visits are a bit more complicated than usual… it was time for another 24-hour urine collection, followed on Saturday morning by a blood draw, this time with “Scott the Vampire” who helped me fill up seven tubes of blood.

These collections were in support of the Cardio-Ox experiment, which I have talked about in the last logbook, as well as the “Biochemical Profile” and “Repository” projects of the Johnson Space Center.

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/axE9J9sP6ZY

These are not actual experiments, but rather aim at providing data that can potentially support a variety of research, both current and future, into the human adaptation to spaceflight. 

“Biochemical Profile” tests urine and blood samples for a number of proteins and chemicals, which are known to be significant indicators of the metabolic state of the body (biomarkers): a database is created and data can be made available to researchers who request it to support their investigations.

“Repository” is a similar concept, but with an eye to the future. Urine and blood samples are collected and stored long-term under controlled conditions and will be made available in the future to researchers who make a solid scientific case for having them. In the future scientists will be able to test those samples with more advanced analysis methods and they might even be interested in biomarkers that are still unknown to us today!

I concluded my 24-hour urine collection with the first toilet visit on Saturday morning, but three hours after breakfast I did fill one more tube, together with a saliva sample, for the Italian experiment Bone Muscle Check, which aims at validating the analysis of saliva samples to quantify the reduction of bone and muscle mass. If reliable biomarkers can be found in saliva, one does not have to rely on much more invasive and time-consuming blood draws!

In the picture you can see some of our laboratory equipment for human research, including the urine collection bag. As you can imagine, peeing in a cup wouldn’t work very well up here. I remember testing a new female adapter on my very first parabolic flight almost exactly 5 years ago – in the cabin of the ZeroG aircraft, but inside a special tent!

I’ll also confess that I had some urine collection devices with me in Baikonur and I practiced with them before launch. In the end, there’s two things that you really want to be very familiar with when you’re about to launch to space: your spaceship and everything that has to do with using the toilet!

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad Russo) +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-05-04 13:39:17 (56 comments; 62 reshares; 780 +1s; )Open 

L+157 to L+158: Logbook

Another weekend is over, only one left on the Space Station. The big event of the weekend of course was the first espresso brewing, which we can now even enjoy in 3D-printed zeroG cups… I’ll tell you all about that in another logbook, I promise.

For now, I still have to catch up on last week’s activities! 

Wednesday was the day when we declared victory on Dragon unpack… and seamlessly moved on to the next fight: packing and loading!

As you might remember, we had done a little bit of pre-packing before Dragon even showed up, pre-staging bags with a nice green “SpX-6 Return” label and a unique number on the Node 2 forward endcone. Now it’s time to fill up those bags with more return items and, of course, prepare many more bags.

It’s nice to be able to start loading things into Dragon. With both thenewly arrived ca... more »

L+157 to L+158: Logbook

Another weekend is over, only one left on the Space Station. The big event of the weekend of course was the first espresso brewing, which we can now even enjoy in 3D-printed zeroG cups… I’ll tell you all about that in another logbook, I promise.

For now, I still have to catch up on last week’s activities! 

Wednesday was the day when we declared victory on Dragon unpack… and seamlessly moved on to the next fight: packing and loading!

As you might remember, we had done a little bit of pre-packing before Dragon even showed up, pre-staging bags with a nice green “SpX-6 Return” label and a unique number on the Node 2 forward endcone. Now it’s time to fill up those bags with more return items and, of course, prepare many more bags.

It’s nice to be able to start loading things into Dragon. With both the newly arrived cargo and the cargo that will be returned stowed on ISS right now, the logistic situation can be challenging: in PMM, our main stowage modules, most rack fronts are covered with big bags secured with bungees, so getting things in and out of the actual stowage compartments takes some work and patience!

As for science, Wednesday and Thursday I worked mainly on the ongoing TripleLux-A experiment and on my last session of Cardio-Ox.
Cardio-Ox is the short version of the name, by the way. If you’re curious about the full name of the experiment, here it is: “Defining the Relationship Between Biomarkers of Oxidative and Inflammatory Stress and the Risk for Atherosclerosis in Astronauts During and After Long-duration Spaceflight.”

If you had the patience to read through the end, the name really says it all! It is reasonable to suppose that spaceflight, due to exposure to radiation, altered food intake, reduced physical activity and an overall stressful environment, may cause an increased level of oxidative stress and inflammation.

Both these undesirable conditions can be indirectly measured by determining the concentration of certain molecules in blood and urine: these molecules are  the “biomarkers” in the experiment title. So, the first result of the experiment is to actually quantify oxidative stress and inflammation and for that purpose I have provided several blood and urine samples during the mission.

But the second part is: how do oxidative stress and inflammation correlate with the risk of atherosclerosis? To determine that, I have performed several remotely-guided ultrasound observations of my carotid and brachial arteries, looking for structural and functional changes that are considered good predictors of atherosclerosis risk. By the way, this is a long term study: the last post-flight session will be 5 years after flight.

Not sure I will still be writing logbooks at that point, but just in case, if you’re curious, look for that R+1825 entry!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad Russo)+Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-05-03 09:00:55 (44 comments; 89 reshares; 881 +1s; )Open 

L+155,  L+156: Logbook

Another week has gone by on ISS, one of my last on board. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Well, the biggest news of this past week, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is that the Russian resupply vehicle Progress 59P didn’t make it to ISS.

On Tuesday morning we received a call from Houston saying that Mission Control - Moscow had downmoded the mission profile to a two-day rendezvous, as opposed to the standard 6-hour profile that would have had Progress dock to ISS by early afternoon.

Of course, there’s a lot of minor issues that can force a transition to a 2-day profile, so at that point we still expected to see Progress pull up in its parking spot by Thursday. We know now that 59P will never make it to ISS. Mission controllers in Moscow have valiantly tried all they could with the available telemetry and commandingcapability... more »

L+155,  L+156: Logbook

Another week has gone by on ISS, one of my last on board. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Well, the biggest news of this past week, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is that the Russian resupply vehicle Progress 59P didn’t make it to ISS.

On Tuesday morning we received a call from Houston saying that Mission Control - Moscow had downmoded the mission profile to a two-day rendezvous, as opposed to the standard 6-hour profile that would have had Progress dock to ISS by early afternoon.

Of course, there’s a lot of minor issues that can force a transition to a 2-day profile, so at that point we still expected to see Progress pull up in its parking spot by Thursday. We know now that 59P will never make it to ISS. Mission controllers in Moscow have valiantly tried all they could with the available telemetry and commanding capability, but unfortunately all efforts to recover the resupply mission have been unsuccessful.

The focus of the community has now shifted from the recovery attempts to analyzing the mishap and finding the cause. We’ll know more once our Russian colleagues will have concluded the investigation which, inevitably, will take a while.

In the meantime, teams are assessing the impacts to the ISS program: what is the consumable situation? How about trash removal capability that has been lost? What are the implications for the next Soyuz launch and, consequently, the impacts on ISS activities?

As you can imagine, it’s a complicated problem and, as is often the case, I’m happy that I’m just an astronaut and I’m only responsible for carrying out my tasks up here. People on the ground have a much tougher job, especially these days!

The good news is that we’re not going to run out of food, water, oxygen or any other vital consumables any time soon – we have plenty on margin. On humanity’s outpost in space no astronaut is going to bed hungry!

And we’re busy as usual keeping the Space Station in shape, transferring cargo and, of course, doing science. On Tuesday, in particular, as the Progress story unfolded, I spent most of the day working on the final session of the Italian Space Agency experiment Drain Brain: ultrasound session in the morning, plus breathing sessions with the pletismographs morning and afternoon. If this doesn’t ring a bell, you might have missed my L+57, L+58 Logbook, where I talked about Drain Brain!

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/i3QRgYGo76Q

Congratulations to the team on the completion of the experiment!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE) Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad Russo)+Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-04-28 22:36:53 (22 comments; 38 reshares; 597 +1s; )Open 

L+151 to L+154: Logbook

After working on a number of new experiments early last week, on Thursday I spent most of my day working on cargo ops, mainly unpacking those gigantic bags that, as I mentioned earlier, we moved out of Dragon and temporarily stowed on Station while we unloaded  urgent science.

You can never tell how long it will take to unpack a bag just by looking at the number of items it contains: even a few items can take a long time if the stowage locations are challenging. Let’s say, for example, that you have to rotate a rack to get to a stowage compartment that is located in the aft, curved part of the rack, the one that lies against the cylindrical hull of a module.

Rotating a rack in itself is not complicated, but often you have to move stuff out of the way of the rotation path: bags, cables, computers, cameras… and then put them back once youare ... more »

L+151 to L+154: Logbook

After working on a number of new experiments early last week, on Thursday I spent most of my day working on cargo ops, mainly unpacking those gigantic bags that, as I mentioned earlier, we moved out of Dragon and temporarily stowed on Station while we unloaded  urgent science.

You can never tell how long it will take to unpack a bag just by looking at the number of items it contains: even a few items can take a long time if the stowage locations are challenging. Let’s say, for example, that you have to rotate a rack to get to a stowage compartment that is located in the aft, curved part of the rack, the one that lies against the cylindrical hull of a module.

Rotating a rack in itself is not complicated, but often you have to move stuff out of the way of the rotation path: bags, cables, computers, cameras… and then put them back once you are done. Imagine rotating part of your wall at home to access a secret room in the back, except that you have plenty of stuff attached to the wall and to the ceiling!

Anyway, I owe you some words about the Nematode muscle experiment I worked on last week. First of all, please welcome back to the International Space Station our good old friends, the C.Elegans. Yes, thanks to their very well understood genetic makeup, these tiny worms are a very popular model organism, on and off the planet! Remember the Epigenetics experiment?

But let’s talk about this new experiment. As the name implies, it’s about muscle, and specifically muscle atrophy. It’s very clear by now that muscle atrophy is a consequence of spaceflight and it makes sense intuitively, but we don’t understand yet the basic biological mechanisms that lead to loss of muscle mass.

See, we astronauts can counteract these negative effects by working out every day, because we are healthy. But what about sick people who are bed-ridden? Understanding the molecular mechanisms that cause muscle atrophy could be useful in finding ways to help them!
Like so often in science, Nematode muscle is a follow-up experiment that builds on previous space research.

The team has already established a few years ago that if you fly C. Elegans to space they will have a reduced protein concentration in muscles and in the cytoskeleton (the “bones” of the cell). Also, quite interestingly, their metabolism will shift to an energy-saving mode. Now the question is: how do cells receive signals that induce those changes? How is the message conveyed? And, for those of you who are into biology, I’ll add that the insulin/IGF-1 signaling, in particular, will be investigated, so see if it can account alone for the metabolic changes. Or maybe, on the contrary, there’s more out there to find out about how cells “get the message”. Fascinating stuff!

The weekend, by the way, was pretty quiet up here. We even got most of Friday off to recover from working two weeks straight, which was nice. Terry and I are heading home in just a couple of weeks and there’s still a lot to be done to wrap up our Space Station life and get things ready to welcome the next inhabitants of our outpost in space.

P.S. Many thanks to +Dmitry Meshkov who is now translating this logbook in Russian, starting with the most recent ones.

And of course, renewed thanks to the Italian, French, Spanish and German translators of #SamLogbook for their continuing amazing work. You guys rock!
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par  +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de

(Trad Russo) +Dmitry Meshkov http://samlogbook-ru.livejournal.com___

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2015-04-25 09:30:28 (58 comments; 52 reshares; 728 +1s; )Open 

L+150: Logbook

Hey, I didn’t forget that I promised to talk to you about the NATO experiment!

On Wednesday I wrapped up NATO by removing the experiment containers from the Kubik incubator and putting them into the MELFI freezer, their biological state being frozen until researchers on the ground can get hold of them and do their post-flight analysis.

The full name of the experiment is Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis and, like Osteo-4 from the last logbook, it studies the bone. But while Osteo-4 is interested in determining the mechanisms that make us loose bone mass in microgravity, NATO want to see what we can do about it and, in particular, if a particular type of nanoparticles could be effective in counteracting bone loss.

See, it’s not very intuitive, but bone is a living tissue that is constantly destroyed and reformed. Cells calledost... more »

L+150: Logbook

Hey, I didn’t forget that I promised to talk to you about the NATO experiment!

On Wednesday I wrapped up NATO by removing the experiment containers from the Kubik incubator and putting them into the MELFI freezer, their biological state being frozen until researchers on the ground can get hold of them and do their post-flight analysis.

The full name of the experiment is Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis and, like Osteo-4 from the last logbook, it studies the bone. But while Osteo-4 is interested in determining the mechanisms that make us loose bone mass in microgravity, NATO want to see what we can do about it and, in particular, if a particular type of nanoparticles could be effective in counteracting bone loss.

See, it’s not very intuitive, but bone is a living tissue that is constantly destroyed and reformed. Cells called osteoclasts destroy bone, other cells called osteoblasts produce new bone. As long as destruction and production are in balance, everything is good, but in weightlessness this balance is disturbed and osteoclasts win. That’s also what happens when people suffer of osteoporosis, unfortunately a common problem!

NATO observes in vitro the effects of adding to bone tissue  various doses of “strontium-containing-hydroxyapatite-nanoparticles”, or nHAP-Sr. Some ground studies have suggested that adding nHAP-Sr could be effective in impeding osteoclasts in their bone-destructing job, which would promote a more favorable balance in the bone destruction/production cycle. A promising research for us astronauts in space and for people on the ground suffering from bone loss!

But it’s not science all the time up here of course. We do need to keep the Station up and running, which also means periodically changing the Recycle Tank in our Urine Processing Assembly, or UPA. You can see the UPA in the picture, it occupies the deck area beneath our space toilet. What’s left of our urine after being processed in UPA, a dense greenish and not-so-pleasant-smelly liquid called brine, is collected in the recycle tank, which of course needs to be swapped when full.

But I did end the day with another cool new experiment called Nematode muscle. I’ll tell you all about it next time!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne G  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-23 06:52:56 (33 comments; 50 reshares; 638 +1s; )Open 

L+149 Logbook

Another day of science yesterday here on humanity’s outpost in space!

First, you’ll be happy to hear that the BRICs I talked to you about in the last logbook are happily chilling out at -98deg Celsius in one of our MELFI freezers: after I activated the experiment on Monday, the microbial cultures remained at ambient temperature for about 24 hours and then it was time to put them in cold stowage, where they’ll remain until they can be returned to Earth.

Yesterday I also performed the third and last run of the Osteo-4 experiment, which came up on Dragon last week. It’s a set of three trays, each one hosting three bioreactors with a culture of mouse bone cells. The aim is to investigate the mechanism of mechano-transduction, which basically means that bones tissue “senses” mechanical forces and responds with a particular behavior. That’sprobably why ... more »

L+149 Logbook

Another day of science yesterday here on humanity’s outpost in space!

First, you’ll be happy to hear that the BRICs I talked to you about in the last logbook are happily chilling out at -98deg Celsius in one of our MELFI freezers: after I activated the experiment on Monday, the microbial cultures remained at ambient temperature for about 24 hours and then it was time to put them in cold stowage, where they’ll remain until they can be returned to Earth.

Yesterday I also performed the third and last run of the Osteo-4 experiment, which came up on Dragon last week. It’s a set of three trays, each one hosting three bioreactors with a culture of mouse bone cells. The aim is to investigate the mechanism of mechano-transduction, which basically means that bones tissue “senses” mechanical forces and responds with a particular behavior. That’s probably why we lose mass in space: in weightlessness there isn’t much load on or skeleton, so the response of our body is to reduce bone mass. If we only could convince our body that we’ll go back to Earth within a few months and all that bone mass will come in handy! To try and send that message we put mechanical stress on our bones by working out every day on a machine, ARED, that simulates weightlifting.

Anyway, back to our experiment, the point is to study gene expression in osteocytes in microgravity: that’s because osteocytes, which are the most common cells in bone, are the mechanosensors of the bone; they are responsible for sensing mechanical loads and inducing appropriate biological responses. How this mechanism works, however, is still a bit of a mystery. Here comes Osteo-4 into play!

As for my contribution, my job was to remove the bioreactors from the trays they are installed in, to  reconfigure the ducting to close all the loops and then put the bioreactors in cold stowage. What made it a bit more cumbersome than it otherwise would be is that, as you can see in the picture,  I had to work in the disposable glovebox… my good old friend from the fruit flies experiment, remember?

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio 
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-21 11:41:48 (44 comments; 63 reshares; 852 +1s; )Open 

L+148: Logbook

Busy day of science and logistics for me to start the week.

Dragon unpacking continues, yesterday I had one hour of transfer ops on my schedule. Looking at Dragon you may think we have made quite some progress already in the unpacking, but in reality we have cheated a bit. Many bags have been retrieved and temporarily stowed on ISS, so that we could access other cargo with urgent science. But of course, they won’t unpack themselves…  and some of them are huge, believe me. We call them MO bags and I could comfortably fit inside the smallest of them!

Today I also dealt with a special type of cargo, the Polar fridges. They need to be transferred to ISS, but since they are powered up inside Dragon and contain refrigerated goods and science samples, they need to be moved and reinstalled quickly, to minimize the time they remain unpowered.
Al... more »

L+148: Logbook

Busy day of science and logistics for me to start the week.

Dragon unpacking continues, yesterday I had one hour of transfer ops on my schedule. Looking at Dragon you may think we have made quite some progress already in the unpacking, but in reality we have cheated a bit. Many bags have been retrieved and temporarily stowed on ISS, so that we could access other cargo with urgent science. But of course, they won’t unpack themselves…  and some of them are huge, believe me. We call them MO bags and I could comfortably fit inside the smallest of them!

Today I also dealt with a special type of cargo, the Polar fridges. They need to be transferred to ISS, but since they are powered up inside Dragon and contain refrigerated goods and science samples, they need to be moved and reinstalled quickly, to minimize the time they remain unpowered.

Also today I had two science activities for the experiments BRIC 21 and Synthetic Muscle. BRIC stands for Biological Research in Canisters: you can see one the BRIC units in the picture.

This particular run investigates microbes and how they adapt to the space environment, with special attention to the development of antibiotic resistance. You’ve probably heard that this is quite a source of concern in healthcare these days and we really need to understand better how pathogens become resistance to antibiotics.

Doing research with pathogens on ISS carries some complications, because you need to provide the microbial culture with a growth medium: if the crew has to do this manually, as it’s often the case, the operation has to happen in the glovebox to ensure containment of the hazardous microorganisms. Here’s where BRICs come in handy: using a dedicated tool, as you can see in the photo, astronauts can push a piston and inject the necessary mediums without ever breaking the three levels of containment required by ISS safety standards. It’s very quick and efficient!

But I bet you want to hear about Synthetic Muscle… well, turns out that Dragon brought us some samples of a special material that could be used to replicate muscle tissue. It’s an electroactive polymer: you can make it contract and expand by applying different electric currents. It sure sounds a lot like muscle to me, doesn’t it?

Applications on Earth are in the field of prosthetics, of course, but we’re also testing how this material reacts when exposed to cosmic and solar radiation up here, because it could potentially be used in robots to enhance their mobility. Cool, ah?

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por
+Carlos Lallana Borobio aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-20 08:44:34 (55 comments; 68 reshares; 815 +1s; )Open 

L+145-L+147: Logbook

Well, the big news of the past few days is of course that Dragon has arrived! It’s always very special to watch a vehicle approach Station.

As big as ISS is, this human outpost in space is only a tiny speck of metal in the vastness of Low Earth Orbit: and yet on Friday morning, as Terry and I monitored from the Cupola, a cargo ship from Earth found us and came knocking at our door. 

I enjoyed watching Dragon getting bigger and bigger, as continents and oceans passed by beneath, but I also consciously tried to detach myself from the romantics of it all to remain focused on my main task ahead: operating the robotic arm to capture Dragon.

It’s something I have practiced hundreds of times on the simulator, mostly with the virtual vehicle moving around a lot more than a real Dragon usually does, but doing it for real is of course quitediff... more »

L+145-L+147: Logbook

Well, the big news of the past few days is of course that Dragon has arrived! It’s always very special to watch a vehicle approach Station.

As big as ISS is, this human outpost in space is only a tiny speck of metal in the vastness of Low Earth Orbit: and yet on Friday morning, as Terry and I monitored from the Cupola, a cargo ship from Earth found us and came knocking at our door. 

I enjoyed watching Dragon getting bigger and bigger, as continents and oceans passed by beneath, but I also consciously tried to detach myself from the romantics of it all to remain focused on my main task ahead: operating the robotic arm to capture Dragon.

It’s something I have practiced hundreds of times on the simulator, mostly with the virtual vehicle moving around a lot more than a real Dragon usually does, but doing it for real is of course quite different:  let’s say that it’s one of those situations when it doesn’t take much to become very famous for all the wrong reasons!

Fortunately everything went well and, after capture, the ground team took control of the arm to slowly berth Dragon to Node 2 nadir – it’s now basically an extra room just outside our crew quarters. On Friday I performed the vestibule leak check. As you might remember, the vestibule is that space between the berthed vehicle and the ISS, a little corridor that is formed when the two are joined. Before we open the hatch of ISS we need to make sure that the vestibule is not leaking, hence we pressurize a little, to ca. 260 mmHg, and then verify the pressure again after a certain interval of time. Vestibule passed the leak check, then Scott and I opened the ISS hatch and worked a couple of hours on getting the vestibule ready, mainly removing components that are not needed while Dragon is berthed and are in the way of… opening the Dragon hatch!

Scott and Terry opened the Dragon hatch yesterday morning and that was the beginning of a weekend of intense work, getting out urgent cargo and starting the science activities, many of which are on a very tight schedule due to degradation of samples as time passes.

As soon as the big bags were out of the Dragon center volume, my task was to retrieve a new Kubik, the stand-alone centrifuge-incubators I mentioned in the last logbook, (https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/fyeELbtxCjt) and get it setup and configured to support two cell biology experiments, Cytospace and NATO, both of which started yesterday afternoon and will continue autonomously for a few days, when it will be time to remove the experiment containers from Kubik and put them in the freezer, waiting for return to Earth for analysis.

Cytospace, as the name suggests, looks at the cellular cytoskeleton, the structures within the cell that give it its shape. How does microgravity affect the shape of the cell? And, most importantly, how do changes in the cell shape affect gene expression? This sounds like a complicated concept, but in the end it simply means that the shape of the cell, which is changed by microgravity, likely affects the way the cell does its job. And we’re really interested in understanding this better because… well, we’re made of cells and what happens in the cells determines what happens in our body as a whole. And vice versa, what we observe in entire systems of our body, for example in term of bone loss or impairment of the immune system, can be explained by changes at the level of the cell.

Next time I’ll talk to you about NATO!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-17 07:28:39 (42 comments; 49 reshares; 642 +1s; )Open 

L+141-144: Logbook

Well, as you might have heard, Dragon’s arrival has been delayed a few days. Had the launch occurred on Monday, it would already be berthed to Node 2 right now and we would already have opened the hatch and started to get urgent cargo out.

But hey, in the space business flexibility is paramount! The launch slipped by one day, delaying arrival to ISS by two days… that’s orbital mechanics and phasing angles for you.

But if you think that we had two free days while waiting for Dragon to come knock at our door, I’m afraid you’re not acquainted with the folks who run the ISS ops: they always have a slip plan! A launch is delayed? Voila’, old plan is taken out, new plan is put in. Ready? Go! Yes, whenever things heavily depend on an inherently uncertain event like the launch of a rocket, mission managers, flight directors and planners alwaysfully prepa... more »

L+141-144: Logbook

Well, as you might have heard, Dragon’s arrival has been delayed a few days. Had the launch occurred on Monday, it would already be berthed to Node 2 right now and we would already have opened the hatch and started to get urgent cargo out.

But hey, in the space business flexibility is paramount! The launch slipped by one day, delaying arrival to ISS by two days… that’s orbital mechanics and phasing angles for you.

But if you think that we had two free days while waiting for Dragon to come knock at our door, I’m afraid you’re not acquainted with the folks who run the ISS ops: they always have a slip plan! A launch is delayed? Voila’, old plan is taken out, new plan is put in. Ready? Go! Yes, whenever things heavily depend on an inherently uncertain event like the launch of a rocket, mission managers, flight directors and planners always fully prepare two plans: that requires a lot of extra work on the ground, but it ensures that no precious crew time on ISS is wasted.

In this case they had pretty major plans in store for the case of launch slip. I kind of got that feeling on Tuesday already: when they give you one full hour to study a procedure you’ll do the next day and then they give you another hour to gather hardware you will need for that procedure and then they tell you not to bother taking tools out of the toolbox, just take the entire drawer instead… when all that happens you start to think that you’re going to get your hands dirty on some major work. Which I love!

While Terry and Scott were busy on their own major activity with the EVA suits, I spent the day in Node 3 reconfiguring the intermodule ventilation ducting in preparation of moving the PMM module later this year from Node 1 nadir to Node 3 forward. Basically, we need a way to get ventilation to PMM in its future new location. Never thought if would be possible to fit so many bags full of hardware in Node 3, in the pretty cramped space between ARED and the toilet cabin, but somehow it worked. And at 2 am Houston-time specialists on the ground were ready to support, with a ground model of the equipment to replicate any issues had we run into problems. Fortunately, with the exception of a couple of stuck fasteners , everything went smoothly: kudos to the team for having such a great, user-friendly procedure ready!

Dragon slip also carved some time to work on the European Modular Cultivation System in Columbus. I got to de-install a number of modules called Rotor Based Life Support Systems –self-contained boxes that are attached on the rotors of this facility. They will hitch a ride to Earth on Dragon and they will be refurbished and launched again in the future to support future plant experiments.

Ah, I also worked a little on a Kubik, the stand-alone centrifuge/incubators that we sometimes operate in Columbus for experiments on cell cultures. I wrapped up the experiment Stem Cells Differentiation by moving the experiment containers to cold stowage and downlinking Kubik data to the ground. As the name suggests, this experiment studies human mesenchymal stem cells, which can differentiate into several cell types to build bone, fat, cartilage, musles, tendons. Now, if you’re a stem cell and you have all this choice, how do you know into what you need to differentiate? What are going to be when you “grow up”? That depends on what kind of signals you get from so-called signaling molecules. Vitamin-D is one of those signaling molecules and in particular we know that it is involved in telling stem cells to turn into bone cells. Bone loss is a big issue in microgravity, as you know, so this experiment observes the effectiveness of the Vitamin D signaling by comparing stem cells differentiation in presence or absence of Vitamin D. Pretty cool, ah?

By the way, not sure how much sunlight you get where you live (we don’t get much up here), but if you haven’t done so already and get a chance, at your next blood draw it can’t hurt to check you Vitamin D levels!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook +futura42 

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de
 
 ___

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2015-04-08 10:22:51 (15 comments; 61 reshares; 554 +1s; )Open 

L+134, L+135: Logbook

The arrival of the Dragon resupply vehicle is now less than a couple of weeks away and it’s amazing to watch the Station getting ready for it.

I wish I could say that I have the overall picture, but that’s up to people way smarter than me who sit in the control centers and run the show. Up here, we just try to do our best in performing our daily tasks, but these are of course all pieces of a puzzle that will eventually become a full visiting vehicle mission, from capture to release, with a significant complement of science to perform while Dragon is berthed to ISS.

Yesterday I installed new software on several laptops, so they will be ready to support new science. Today I spent two hours gathering from all over the Station into one single bag all the equipment required for a specific experiment, so that everything will be readily availablewhe... more »

L+134, L+135: Logbook

The arrival of the Dragon resupply vehicle is now less than a couple of weeks away and it’s amazing to watch the Station getting ready for it.

I wish I could say that I have the overall picture, but that’s up to people way smarter than me who sit in the control centers and run the show. Up here, we just try to do our best in performing our daily tasks, but these are of course all pieces of a puzzle that will eventually become a full visiting vehicle mission, from capture to release, with a significant complement of science to perform while Dragon is berthed to ISS.

Yesterday I installed new software on several laptops, so they will be ready to support new science. Today I spent two hours gathering from all over the Station into one single bag all the equipment required for a specific experiment, so that everything will be readily available when those operations start a few weeks from now. And of course Terry and I continue to prepare for the capture of Dragon.

Today was our “offset grapple” practice, a two-hour session in which we could practiced flying the real arm, instead  of the simulator. I’ve talked about “offset grapples” in my L+20, +21 Logbook: check it out, in case you missed it! 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/UeZYA3DFrw1

When the last Dragon arrived, Butch performed the actual capture. This time I will be the prime robotic operator, so I will be at the controls of the arm, while Terry will be responsible for communication with the ground, running the procedures and the malfunction cue cards (the latter will hopefully not be needed).

And speaking of malfunctions, on our last “almost-grapple” today we practiced the response to a “safing event” occurring the arm end effector is already over the pin, so very close to pressing the trigger to capture, or even shortly thereafter. The arm will automatically go into a safe mode following a malfunction, making it impossible to command the joints, the end effector or the arm in its entirety.

Luckily, it’s really ‘two arms in one’: granted, there is only one set of beams and joints, but there’s otherwise full redundancy on all the components that allow the arm to function. In order to make use of that redundancy and complete the capture on the backup string, we would have to move from the Cupola to the Lab, where we have a second robotic workstation. On capture day, that second workstation is in a “hot backup” mode, meaning that literally one button press is sufficient to make it prime and put it in control of the arm. Wouldn’t you love to have that kind of redundancy on your car when that red light appears?

Ah, yesterday I also spent some time on my periodic fitness assessment. We do that on our bike, CEVIS, once a month, using a dedicated protocol, while our electrocardiogram is recorded and blood pressure is measured every five minutes. Based on this data, specialists on the ground can make an estimation of our VO2max, which is a commonly used measure of cardiovascular fitness. The typical trend observed in 6-month missions is a significant, quick decrease of VO2max early on and then a slow recovery through the daily workouts on bike and treadmill. And the closer we are to returning to Earth, the more critical it is to exercise, to be ready to face gravity again.

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de
 ___

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2015-04-08 09:55:43 (19 comments; 26 reshares; 458 +1s; )Open 

L+133: Logbook

Quiet Easter Sunday here on ISS, no work at all on my schedule, although I did a little bit of work off the “task list”. Oh, I don’t think I ever told you about the task list, time to change that!

The task list is a pool of activities that have been prepared by the ground, but don’t have a high enough priority to be put on the regular schedule. If we want to do some work in our free time, or if time frees up because some activity could be completed quicker than expected, or because a planned activity was aborted, we can browse the task list and find useful things to do.

Some are bigger tasks of several hours, others are little housekeeping tasks, like replacing the batteries or the shell of a laptop, or reconfiguring stowage in preparation of an upcoming activity. Packing and unpacking a cargo vehicle is also often on the task list, in case wewant to... more »

L+133: Logbook

Quiet Easter Sunday here on ISS, no work at all on my schedule, although I did a little bit of work off the “task list”. Oh, I don’t think I ever told you about the task list, time to change that!

The task list is a pool of activities that have been prepared by the ground, but don’t have a high enough priority to be put on the regular schedule. If we want to do some work in our free time, or if time frees up because some activity could be completed quicker than expected, or because a planned activity was aborted, we can browse the task list and find useful things to do.

Some are bigger tasks of several hours, others are little housekeeping tasks, like replacing the batteries or the shell of a laptop, or reconfiguring stowage in preparation of an upcoming activity. Packing and unpacking a cargo vehicle is also often on the task list, in case we want to work ahead during our free time. 

And since being late with packing is really not an option, we always get a head start: the stowage specialists on the ground send up pre-pack gather lists well before a vehicle actually shows up, so we can start getting return bags ready. In the picture you can see the Node 2 endcone with all the bags we already started to pack for Dragon. Compare it with the way it looks about a month ago for our Exp 42 crew picture!

Recording video messages or educational videos for outreach purposes is also typically on the task list, as well as a couple of procedures that are permanent entries: changing the solid waste container and the urine container in our space toilet. After the first couple of times, you don’t really need a procedure for that, but an activity also has a stowage note attached, which in this case tells you which new containers to get, where to find them and where to stow the removed ones.

As you know, every item is tracked on the Space Station: by part number, barcode , serial number.. or all three of them!

Things still get lost occasionally, unfortunately. We’re all humans and as such are prone to making mistakes:  if something ends up in the wrong place (in the real world or in the inventory system), who knows when it’s going to be found! Also, things accumulate over time that should actually have been disposed of a long time ago. Not unlike most people’s homes, we can’t afford to accumulate things that are no longer necessary, because we need the space for new hardware to support the science program.

The European laboratory Columbus, after having been on orbit for about 7 years now, has seen a little bit of that. When I arrived back in November there were quite a few stowage bags on the rack fronts: so much science going on, so little space to stow the equipment! Luckily ATV5 and SpX-5 took away some bags that were no longer used and some optimization of the available volume in the endcone has cleaned up the cabin quite a bit.

In order to optimize more, on the weekends I have been doing photo-audits of our main stowage rack in Columbus, the Deck 4 rack. The stowage team at COL-CC, the COSMOs, want to have the full picture of what’s in those lockers, in order to devise a consolidation plan that will hopefully save some space! So I have been snapping away… patiently, locker by locker, bag by bag, item by item, nicely showing all the barcodes and serial numbers.

And you thought that being an astronaut was all glamour and adrenaline, didn’t you?

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-04 15:56:12 (64 comments; 74 reshares; 736 +1s; )Open 

L+131-L+132: Logbook

Yesterday was a relatively easy day, which is always kind of nice at the end of the week. Not that I didn’t have a full schedule -  we always have activities from our morning Daily Planning Conference, or DPC, (somewhere around 7:30 in the morning) to our evening DPC (somewhere around 19:30). However, tasks can be more or less complex and more or less “routine”.

Running a new experiment that has not been performed before, which requires a complicated setup, a lot of coordination with the ground or delicate operations is of course a lot more demanding than performing tasks that I have done before and that I can perform autonomously – let’s say sampling the water or removing/installing lockers in our Express racks (modular racks that can support a variety of science operations and are continuously reconfigured depending on current and upcomingops).
more »

L+131-L+132: Logbook

Yesterday was a relatively easy day, which is always kind of nice at the end of the week. Not that I didn’t have a full schedule -  we always have activities from our morning Daily Planning Conference, or DPC, (somewhere around 7:30 in the morning) to our evening DPC (somewhere around 19:30). However, tasks can be more or less complex and more or less “routine”.

Running a new experiment that has not been performed before, which requires a complicated setup, a lot of coordination with the ground or delicate operations is of course a lot more demanding than performing tasks that I have done before and that I can perform autonomously – let’s say sampling the water or removing/installing lockers in our Express racks (modular racks that can support a variety of science operations and are continuously reconfigured depending on current and upcoming ops).

Simple or routine tasks that do not require a lot of support from the control centers are usually inserted in our schedule as “pink activities” – the writing is pink on our planning viewer, indicating that you can do them whenever you want, as long as they are done by the end of the day.

For non-pink activities, on the contrary,  there is an expectation that they be performed more or less on time. Some tasks are even “blue-boxed” – a thick borderline around the activity on the viewer indicates that the time is to be strictly observed. Typical blue-boxed activities are live interviews with media or public calls with VIPs, which require a complex setup on the ground to provide audio and video connection with the party on the other side for the agreed time.

Most experiments are not blue-boxed, but they are also not pink. That’s because very often specialists very familiar with the experiment operations, and sometimes the principal investigator himself/herself, are available on space-to-ground for any assistance or real-time troubleshooting that might be required. In many cases, you don’t get a second chance to get an experiments right (at least not until you fly up new samples or equipment), so it’s important to have the maximum support available in case problems are encountered.

Talking about science, today I worked a little bit with the JAXA experiment ANISO tubule. I’ve performed several runs of this experiment, each one consisting (from my side) of a sequence of activities spread over multiple days.

Let’s say that today is day 1: you retrieve a new sample chamber, like the one in the pictures, and with a syringe you slowly inject 1,5 ml of water. Then you put the chamber in MELFI for 96 hours at +2C! This simulates winter and promotes good germination of the Arabidopsis seeds. Then the chamber is moved to ambient temperature for about 4 more days (spring has arrived!) and finally, after adding more water, two days of observation in the fluorescence microscope begin, with scientists on the ground directly studying live images from ISS.

We have known for a long time that plants grow differently in weightlessness. Since they don’t “feel” gravity up here, they tend to grow a thinner and longer stem. In fact, the ANISO scientists have even done the opposite on the ground, putting seeds in a centrifuge and showing that in “hypergravity” they grow shorter and thicker stems. The difference is likely due to different orientation of microtubules in the individual cells that change their shape. I find it fascinating that something as small as a cell would be affected by gravity, but it is!

A particular group of proteins, called MAPs, control the orientation of the microtubules and hence the shape of the stem. Now, you can’t really see microtubules and MAPs directly in the fluorescence microscope, but these Arabidopsis plants have been engineered in such a way that they also produce a fluorescent protein that accurately mimic MAPs: and that does the trick! Now you can use the fluorescence microscope to indirectly observe proteins that you otherwise would not see. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but microgravity is really a great place to study gravity response of plants, which in turn can help optimizing agricultural practices. I don’t have a background in life sciences, so this is all very new to me, but I hope you find it as intriguing as I do!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-03 11:30:00 (41 comments; 57 reshares; 614 +1s; )Open 

L+130: Logbook

Hey, I’m sure you’ve heard: we have two new crewmembers here on ISS who will remain onboard for, no kidding,  an entire year!

Might be the first of several extended expeditions and the main driver of course  is the observation of human physiology and health during a longer period of the time than the standard 6-month missions, so it’s not surprising that Scott and Misha are already being put “under the microscope” more extensively than, say, Terry or I.

There’ s a wide range of investigations that will target numerous aspects of their adaptation process and all of those experiments need start-of-mission data.

Today was a big day of ocular health research!
In fact, my working day ended with back-to-back sessions in which I supported Scott and Misha in taking funduscope images of their eyes, but even before our morning DailyPlanning Conf... more »

L+130: Logbook

Hey, I’m sure you’ve heard: we have two new crewmembers here on ISS who will remain onboard for, no kidding,  an entire year!

Might be the first of several extended expeditions and the main driver of course  is the observation of human physiology and health during a longer period of the time than the standard 6-month missions, so it’s not surprising that Scott and Misha are already being put “under the microscope” more extensively than, say, Terry or I.

There’ s a wide range of investigations that will target numerous aspects of their adaptation process and all of those experiments need start-of-mission data.

Today was a big day of ocular health research!
In fact, my working day ended with back-to-back sessions in which I supported Scott and Misha in taking funduscope images of their eyes, but even before our morning Daily Planning Conference I was already tasked with the setup of our Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine for their eye scans.

Gennady assisted Misha, before it was my turn to assist Scott. I must confess that I dread these events a little bit: getting good scans is not always easy and it’s not uncommon to have to repeat them multiple times to get a satisfactory result. It can be somewhat frustrating for the operator and tiring for the subject, who has to keep his/her eyes open and still for a long time.

We have awesome remote guiders who run the show from the ground, but they get the image streamed from our laptop with an ever so slight delay that sometimes makes it difficult to give real-time guidance when the image changes fast. All that said, I really had nothing to worry about today. Scott is a natural at this! He is just the perfect subject (at least certainly much better than me): his gaze was so steady that only minimal adjustments of the lens position were needed during the scans to keep the proper eye layers in view, making my job so easy. Thanks, Scott!

Between eye research sessions and a few other small tasks (like troubleshooting one of our Merlin fridge), today I also had three videoconferences with people on the ground - a bit unusual, typically they are spread out in the week. Besides the weekly videoconference with my flight surgeon Brigitte, I got to talk to ESA folks at COL-CC and ESTEC: the mission director and lead flight director, as well as the Eurocom on duty and the mission science officer. Similarly, in the evening  Scott, Terry and I had our weekly conference with Houston and Huntsville  for the NASA perspective and update on current operations from the lead flight director and the rest of the Expedition 43 team.

If you are someone who follows the live-feed from the Space Station, including the space-to-ground communications, you might have noticed that you don’t hear such conferences: that’s because mission controls puts restrictions in place, so that nobody beyond the parties involved listens to the conversation. As you can imagine that’s particularly important for the periodic medical and psychological conferences, but also for the weekly family conferences, as well as remote guidance for exams on human subjects, like an ultrasound or today’s OCT scans.

I also got to work a little on water balance today. As I’m sure we know, we recycle all the water onboard thanks to a facility called Water Processing Assembly (WPA). Well, WPA has been having some hiccups lately, so it’s not currently producing potable water. But… don’t panic! We have plenty of water in the lines and plenty of full water bags. However, while the specialists on the ground develop a forward plan to troubleshoot WPA, there’s a bit of work to be done to maintain proper water balance.

Check the picture captions for more info!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por  +Carlos Lallana Borobio
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-04-02 10:06:10 (74 comments; 98 reshares; 940 +1s; )Open 

L+129: Logbook

As  you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been writing much this past month – my evenings have been just flying away, divided between the irresistible pull of the Cupola, other outreach projects and many little personal things that need to be taken care of.

During the day the Space Station keeps us really busy with science, maintenance, housekeeping, logistics and maintaining our proficiency in emergency responses, robotics, Soyuz flying…you name it. The variety of things we do up here is mind blowing, if I stop to think about it.

Oh, and by the way, we also had a Soyuz undock earlier this month, taking home half of our Space Station population. Well, at least in terms of human presence – I’m sure the microorganisms living up here, who outnumber us by orders of magnitude, would claim that it’s “their” Space Station and don’t care muchif three biped mamma... more »

L+129: Logbook

As  you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been writing much this past month – my evenings have been just flying away, divided between the irresistible pull of the Cupola, other outreach projects and many little personal things that need to be taken care of.

During the day the Space Station keeps us really busy with science, maintenance, housekeeping, logistics and maintaining our proficiency in emergency responses, robotics, Soyuz flying…you name it. The variety of things we do up here is mind blowing, if I stop to think about it.

Oh, and by the way, we also had a Soyuz undock earlier this month, taking home half of our Space Station population. Well, at least in terms of human presence – I’m sure the microorganisms living up here, who outnumber us by orders of magnitude, would claim that it’s “their” Space Station and don’t care much if three biped mammals are replaced by three different ones. We, on the other, do care.

It was hard to see Sasha, Butch and Elena leave after being so close for four months and we did become just a little bit apprehensive when communication with their Soyuz was lost during the engine burn, which was somewhat unexpected. So we were happy to hear from Moscow that the search & rescue teams had made contact with the capsule and even happier to see our friends’ smiling faces as they got their first breaths of fresh air in Kazakhstan.

In case you’re wondering, we saw them on NASA TV,  like many of you, I reckon. Not sure I mentioned before, but we can get a TV station transmitted live on one of our laptops when we have satellite coverage for the Ku-Band antennas.

For a couple of weeks the Space Station felt even bigger than usual, with Terry, Anton and I as the only (human) inhabitants. Not only were there fewer people around, but of course we were only getting half of the work done, so there was less com on space-to-ground. Overall, if felt a lot quieter. And now we’re back to six!

Scott, Gennady and Misha have joined us last week and have added their personalities to the mix to create the new dynamic of Expedition 43. It’s such an invaluable opportunity to be part of two different crews: in the end, it’s the human interactions that determine our experience up here, so in a way it’s like having two space missions instead of one. And if you have such awesome crewmates as I have had on Expedition 42 and have now on Expedition 43… well, life is good! Also, Terry and I have it really easy in terms of handover: Scott has already been up here for six months just 4 years ago, so he really doesn’t need the amount of guidance and coaching (and patience!) that we required at the beginning from Butch. Scott is basically already autonomous and has already given some inputs that have improved our life and work. Always good to add a new perspective to the equation!

So, here we are, it’s April 1st already and, barring changes, my Soyuz will undock on May 14th. With me onboard, unless I hide really well. I have only 42 days left on ISS, which is of course a cool number, but it’s also not much. If I sound a little sad saying this, it’s because I am.

Anyway, with so  little time left I am committed to resume regular logbooks: there is so much still that I have to share with you! I thought I’d start by sharing some picture of life and work from the past four months: check out the captions for some insight.  Talk to you soon!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS 
qui: http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa   ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio 
aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-03-05 01:18:00 (114 comments; 104 reshares; 1,229 +1s; )Open 

L+100, L+101: Logbook

The Logbook is back!

Sorry for the very long Loss of Signal, it’s been a busy time: three spacewalks in 8 days can really fill your days and I felt that I needed to focus on my task 100%.

Having to run several hours of airlock ops and get two crewmates “out the door” safely and as quickly as possible is something that commands attention: by far the most demanding thing I have done on orbit and, the first time, definitely somewhat stressful.

Spacewalks are usually covered quite in detail on the internet, so I’m sure you guys already know more than I could possibly tell you. And as far as my job as IV is concerned, if you’re curious you can take a look at some training logbooks about Prep-and-Post classes, where we train airlock ops and pre-breath protocols. Check out for example Logbook L-70:
https:/... more »

L+100, L+101: Logbook

The Logbook is back!

Sorry for the very long Loss of Signal, it’s been a busy time: three spacewalks in 8 days can really fill your days and I felt that I needed to focus on my task 100%.

Having to run several hours of airlock ops and get two crewmates “out the door” safely and as quickly as possible is something that commands attention: by far the most demanding thing I have done on orbit and, the first time, definitely somewhat stressful.

Spacewalks are usually covered quite in detail on the internet, so I’m sure you guys already know more than I could possibly tell you. And as far as my job as IV is concerned, if you’re curious you can take a look at some training logbooks about Prep-and-Post classes, where we train airlock ops and pre-breath protocols. Check out for example Logbook L-70:

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/HhCxe72awiq

Of course, some things are hard to practice on the ground. Take the SAFERs, for example, the jetpacks that are attached to the EMU suits for an emergency self-rescue in case of detachment from structure: on the ground we learn how to operate the latches that keep them secured to the suit, but it’s a whole different story to actually handle suit and SAFER in space. Heavy, bulky things don’t have weight up here, but they sure still have mass, hence inertia!

Anyway, everything went well, Butch and Terry did a stellar job outside, Anton was a precious help in the airlock and now we’re all catching our breaths as we settle into a less hectic work pace.

Also, we’re approaching fast the end of Expedition 42, which means that Butch, Sasha and Elena are getting ready for their fiery ride back to planet Earth next week.

Terry, Anton and I will be on our own up here for a couple of weeks, before Scott, Misha and Gennady join us towards the end of March.

Yesterday our soon-to-depart crewmates actually put on their Sokol suits for their pre-reentry leak checks and I have spotted Elena and Sasha practicing the Soyuz manual reentry on a simulator in the Service Module.

And we’re getting return cargo ready: today, for example, I took water samples from all our potable water delivery stations and stowed them for return on Soyuz.

Preparations for the next crew’s arrival have also begun. Yesterday I worked on stowing some cargo delivered on the Russian Progress resupply vehicle, which included Scott’s clothes and hygiene items.

We have our little space wardrobe in Node 2, close to our sleeping cabins: each one of us has a big rigid bag with our personal clothing supplies, mostly organized in Ziplocs that cover two weeks each (we call those “bricks”).

Butch, efficient as always, had already cleared his bag, so Scott… if you happen to be reading… your clothes are already nicely organized in Node 2 overhead! Not sure that they are enough for a year, though: I bet you’ll have more coming along the way.

Hey, by the way, yesterday was our 100th day in space! Well, technically that’s true only for me, since Terry and Anton had been in space before, but for sure it was our 100th day in space together. A bit scary, isn’t it? Compared to the time behind us, the time we have left already looks little, only a couple of months left.

Of course there are things from my Earthling life that I miss – a shower being pretty high on the list – but it will be really hard to leave the Space Station. In the past 100 days I have gone from uncontainable excitement and constant discovery to familiarity and a sense of quiet affection for the Station itself, our crew and the teams on the ground spread all over the world with whom we interact every day. It feels like home and, by the way, a home in which you can float and that offers an unbeatable view out of the window!
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio  aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-02-15 23:42:50 (52 comments; 49 reshares; 914 +1s; )Open 

L+80 to L+82: Logbook

After working on a tight schedule through the weekend to get Dragon ready for departure and then to release it on Tuesday, on Wednesday we were given a day off. Hurrah!

I’m a night owl, so I like to sleep in when I can. On Tuesday night, before going to bed, I took a last look at Wednesday’s schedule for a confirmation that there was no need to set my alarm. Confirmed! So on Wednesday morning I slid my arms out of my sleeping bag around 9:30 and, as usual, opened my laptop to check the schedule and the Daily Summary, a message from ground controllers containing information about the state of the Station and any questions/answers/messages for the crew. Imagine my surprise when I saw an activity on the schedule at 7:30 in the morning. How could I possibly have missed that the night before? And weren’t we supposed to have a day off? And how bad was itthat ... more »

L+80 to L+82: Logbook

After working on a tight schedule through the weekend to get Dragon ready for departure and then to release it on Tuesday, on Wednesday we were given a day off. Hurrah!

I’m a night owl, so I like to sleep in when I can. On Tuesday night, before going to bed, I took a last look at Wednesday’s schedule for a confirmation that there was no need to set my alarm. Confirmed! So on Wednesday morning I slid my arms out of my sleeping bag around 9:30 and, as usual, opened my laptop to check the schedule and the Daily Summary, a message from ground controllers containing information about the state of the Station and any questions/answers/messages for the crew. Imagine my surprise when I saw an activity on the schedule at 7:30 in the morning. How could I possibly have missed that the night before? And weren’t we supposed to have a day off? And how bad was it that I hadn’t done it yet? But our Commander Butch is always up at 5 in the morning, so he would have woken me up if needed, right? So, don’t panic, let’s see what this is about…

Now, take a look at the picture with a snapshot of that activity. I’ll let you be the judge: our ground teams have some sense of humor, don’t they? We did miss the reading session on that day, and I’m sorry to report that I did not find a Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy in the indicated location, but we’ll make this happen somehow!

Thursday and Friday we were back to a normal work schedule. I got to be the operator for Butch on a number of eye exams, part of the Ocular Health research for which he is a subject: I supported his ultrasound, optical coherence tomography and fundoscope exams, taking images of his eyes in more ways than I would have ever imagined possible before ISS training. I’ll also do the same exams this coming  week, but I do them less frequently than Butch and Terry, because mine are a purely medical requirement, while my crewmates also serve as subject of this research effort focused on ocular health.
Then we had to get ready for ATV undocking.

Sasha and I had an On-Board-Training session on Thursday in which we reviewed all the pre-departure procedures and our monitoring tasks. Then on Friday we closed the hatches on ATV and ISS side and… you guessed it, I’m sure you know how these things work by now…  we did a leak check.

We depressurized the vestibule between the hatches and then we monitored the pressure change for 30 minutes: had the pressure increased, either the ATV hatch or the ISS hatch would have been leaking air into the vestibule. Actually, Mission Control Moscow took care of the depressurization: vestibules on the Russian sides have a valve that can be commanded from the ground to vent the air to space. And our hatches passed the leak check with flying colors: up to 1 mm Hg of pressure increase is allowed and we only had a change of 0,5 mmHg.

That was it, the very last ATV was ready for undocking the next day!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio  aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de
 
 ___

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2015-02-14 18:43:17 (83 comments; 106 reshares; 1,438 +1s; )Open 

L+76 to L+79: Logbook

It’s been quite a historic day here on ISS: the last of the Automated Transfer Vehicles of the European Space Agency, ATV-5 George Lemaitre, has just departed and is now safely separated from the Station, on track for a destructive reentry into the atmosphere tomorrow: it’s taking away tons of waste and discarded items, thus giving us quite a relief on ISS in terms stowage space.

But we’ll have time to talk about the departure of ATV and all the pre-departure ops in a future logbook, today let’s go back a few days and look at the departure of another vehicle earlier this week: Dragon! Last weekend was really busy here on Station as we got the last things ready to be loaded. I wrapped up the “Epigenetics” experiment on Saturday, fixating the last generation of our C. Elegans worms for return to Earth. Scientists on the ground took a look at theculture bag... more »

L+76 to L+79: Logbook

It’s been quite a historic day here on ISS: the last of the Automated Transfer Vehicles of the European Space Agency, ATV-5 George Lemaitre, has just departed and is now safely separated from the Station, on track for a destructive reentry into the atmosphere tomorrow: it’s taking away tons of waste and discarded items, thus giving us quite a relief on ISS in terms stowage space.

But we’ll have time to talk about the departure of ATV and all the pre-departure ops in a future logbook, today let’s go back a few days and look at the departure of another vehicle earlier this week: Dragon! Last weekend was really busy here on Station as we got the last things ready to be loaded. I wrapped up the “Epigenetics” experiment on Saturday, fixating the last generation of our C. Elegans worms for return to Earth. Scientists on the ground took a look at the culture bags in the camera and reported that, judging from the color, the worms had been growing just fine, so hopefully there’s now three generations of space-born C.Elegans on Earth.

The weekend was also the time to reinstall in Dragon a number of cold-stowage facilities, called Polar and Glacier: these moveable fridges fly up and down powered by the Dragon power supply, but in between they are actually installed on Station. Moving them is quite time-critical, because we don’t want them to remain unpowered for more than 30 minutes, so Terry and I worked together on a timed choreography that allowed us to operate in parallel, minimizing power-off time.

Last but not least, there was a last-minute entry on our timeline on Sunday morning: the removal of a fan-pump-separator (FPS) on a EMU, the suit for spacewalks. In Logbook L+16,L+17 I have told you about the FPS, since Butch and I replaced one back in December. Unfortunately, the FPS has failed on another suit. We don’t currently have spares onboard, but it was decided that the failed one should be removed and returned on Dragon for analysis on the ground. Doing it the second time was not as daunting as the first time, especially since we did not install a new one, but it was still a challenging task to remove all the hard-to-reach, non-captive screws and washers! We were glad when we were done and could hand it over to Terry, so he could properly pack it for return.

Talking about packing, that was the big task for Monday. In the morning it was cold-stowage ops again, as Terry and I packed and loaded six cold bags with samples from our MELFI freezers. Cold bags are like coolers with a very thick insulation, in which samples for return are stowed together with cold bricks to keep them cool until they can be retrieved on Earth and put in an actual freezer again.  For each cold bags we had diagrams which showed exactly how they had to be packed and, in some cases, in what precise orientation.

Unfortunately, that’s one of those things that works a lot better with the help of gravity, because up here there’s nothing to keep all those items where you put them, until of course the bag is full and the lid will press everything in place.  Also, as you can imagine, packing cold bags is necessarily a last minute operation: we packed them on Monday morning and on Monday afternoon we closed the Dragon hatch. Terry and Butch then installed the controllers for the motors that drive the bolts keeping Dragon attached to ISS while I, In the meantime, took a trip to ATV to install the Break-Up Camera, which will actually observe the breakup of ATV from inside tomorrow!

Tuesday, of course, was release day. After a successful leak check of the hatches, making sure that neither Dragon nor ISS would have a leak when demated, Butch drove out the bolts, disconnecting Dragon from us, and then controllers on the ground started to fly the robotic arm to move Dragon to the release position.

In the early evening, Terry and I were ready at the robotic workstation in the Cupola to perform the release and send Dragon on its way home. At the release time, I ungrappled it and backed away the arm to a safe distance of about 4,5 meters. At that point, Terry sent the Depart command and Dragon performed its first burn, commencing a slow but clearly visible separation from ISS. Really strange to see it go, after having had it as our neighbor here in Node 2 for several weeks. But hey, we’ll get another one soon!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS  qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-02-11 11:58:36 (60 comments; 76 reshares; 888 +1s; )Open 

L+74 to L+75: Logbook
 
We have sent Dragon back home yesterday! I’ll tell you more about this in the coming days, but for now, I’ll just say this: looking back at the past weeks since Dragon arrival, it’s very gratifying to think of all the work we’ve done, from the experiments to the loading and unloading operations, up to the last-minute transfer of cold samples from the coolers and freezers to cold bags for return. It’s also nice to catch our breath today, though: since we had to work hard all weekend, we’re getting this Wednesday off. A nice and welcome surprise!

But now let’s go back to last week once more to catch up with the release of something a lot smaller from a somewhat smaller robotic arm: a tiny Cubesat, with the dimensions 10cm x 10cm x 10cm, was deployed by the Japanese arm on Friday. Pretty cool to see!

There were a lot of preparationactivities the... more »

L+74 to L+75: Logbook
 
We have sent Dragon back home yesterday! I’ll tell you more about this in the coming days, but for now, I’ll just say this: looking back at the past weeks since Dragon arrival, it’s very gratifying to think of all the work we’ve done, from the experiments to the loading and unloading operations, up to the last-minute transfer of cold samples from the coolers and freezers to cold bags for return. It’s also nice to catch our breath today, though: since we had to work hard all weekend, we’re getting this Wednesday off. A nice and welcome surprise!

But now let’s go back to last week once more to catch up with the release of something a lot smaller from a somewhat smaller robotic arm: a tiny Cubesat, with the dimensions 10cm x 10cm x 10cm, was deployed by the Japanese arm on Friday. Pretty cool to see!

There were a lot of preparation activities the days before the release, in close cooperation with the JEM Control Center in Tsukuba, Japan. As you might remember if you’ve been reading this logbook, the JEM module has its own small airlock: we can open the door to the inside and slide a table into the cabin. The week prior to the release Butch had installed on this table the satellite deployment system with the Cubesat inside. On Thursday last week I got to depressurize the airlock. By the way, just like the big airlock for spacewalks, the Japanese airlock has provisions to recover most of the air into the Space Station volume: just the last bit of air, when the residual pressure in the airlock becomes too small (around 2 PSI), must necessarily be vented into space. Once the airlock was at vacuum, I opened the outer hatch into space and slid out the table with the satellite and deployment system. At that point, robotic controllers from Tsukuba grabbed the deployment system with the Japanese robotic arm and, once they had a firm grip, I got a GO to release it from the slide table, so that the arm could get full control of it and move it to the deployment position. My next task was to take pictures of the deployment and I have to say that this one made me a bit nervous: you only get one chance to get it right and that satellite goes away fast once it’s released! Really didn’t want to mess this up, can only imagine what a disappointment it would be for the students who developed the Cubesat not to have pictures.

Talking about students, on Wednesday I also got a chance to talk on the HAM radio to a group of school pupils from the schools “Locatelli-Oriani” and “Bachelet” in the Milan area: thanks for your great questions and you hard work preparing for this!

On Friday I got to spend quite a lot of time in our big airlock working on the EMU suits (the suits for spacewalks). In particular, I worked on the cooling water loops of both suits that will be used in the upcoming planned EVAs by Terry and Butch, “scrubbing” the water with different kinds of filters and adding iodine for microbial control. After that I took water samples that were returned on Dragon for analysis on the ground. The loop scrub can also be used as an opportunity to do some checks on the suits and get telemetry on the ground, so both suits were connected to a laptop on which we ran a data gathering application.

Hey, on Friday I also got to talk to Mission Control Moscow, which doesn’t happen very often to us non-Russian crewmembers. As we get ready for ATV undocking this Saturday, I ran with Moscow a checkout procedure for the ATV remote control panel that we will have deployed in the Russian Service Module when ATV departs. We’ll only need to send commands to ATV in case of an off-nominal situation, so I’m confident that we will not really need the control panel, but we’ll be ready!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS   qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio    aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-02-07 23:31:06 (68 comments; 74 reshares; 1,014 +1s; )Open 

L+72 to L+73: Logbook

Today is Saturday and, wow, this has been a busy week! Not so much time to keep you updated on our work and life up here, unfortunately. But hey, we can still catch up a little bit, so let’s see what’s happened on the ISS earlier in the week.

This past Tuesday I did something that we don’t quite do every day: I depressurized a part of the Space Station to vacuum. Not an airlock, those actually exist for that purpose.

A vestibule: that’s the small volume that is created when two ISS modules are joined together. Just like if in your home you had not one door between rooms, but two, with a little space between them which becomes a little “room” of its own if you close both doors. On ISS we call that little volume between hatches “vestibule”.  Imagine you wanted to make sure that both those hatches do not leak – the best way to dothis leak check is... more »

L+72 to L+73: Logbook

Today is Saturday and, wow, this has been a busy week! Not so much time to keep you updated on our work and life up here, unfortunately. But hey, we can still catch up a little bit, so let’s see what’s happened on the ISS earlier in the week.

This past Tuesday I did something that we don’t quite do every day: I depressurized a part of the Space Station to vacuum. Not an airlock, those actually exist for that purpose.

A vestibule: that’s the small volume that is created when two ISS modules are joined together. Just like if in your home you had not one door between rooms, but two, with a little space between them which becomes a little “room” of its own if you close both doors. On ISS we call that little volume between hatches “vestibule”.  Imagine you wanted to make sure that both those hatches do not leak – the best way to do this leak check is to depressurize the vestibule between them. If air gets into the vestibule, raising the pressure, there’s a leak in the hatch seals. Here is how it goes: you connect the vestibule volume to a vacuum access point and vent all the air overboard; then you measure the residual pressure, which will be very close to zero (in my case it was about 3 mm Hg) and then you wait 24 hours and check the pressure again. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfectly tight seal, some leakage will always occur.

In the case of the vestibule, my procedure called it a good leak check if the increase in pressure in the vestibule after 24 hours was less than 5 mm Hg.
I bet you’re curious by now… what hatches did we leak check and why? Well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard already, but we’re going to do some remodeling soon on the Space Station. Time to freshen up the room distribution a bit! Our PMM module, which is currently attached to Node 1 nadir, will be relocated to Node 3 forward and the Node 1 nadir port will get a luxury upgrade that will make it capable of receiving visiting vehicles. So we did the leak check on the vestibule between PMM and Node 1, to make sure that those hatches do not leak, because they will be exposed to vacuum when we do the relocation later this year. In addition, just before the leak check Terry and I installed a feedthrough: that’s something that allows a cable connection to go through a hole  in the pressure shell – you plug the cable on one side, let’s say inside, and then you plug the continuation of the cable to the other side of the feedthrough, let’s say outside. The feedthrough is inserted in a hole and has seals to make sure air doesn’t leak out.

You’ll be happy to hear that the vestibule passed the leak check, so both the hatches and the newly installed feedthrough are in good shape. Good news, ah? By the way, what you see in the picture is the long jumper hose that we used to connect the vestibule to vacuum: it had to reach all the way across the Lab to the vacuum access point. Maybe it’s just me, but connecting something to vacuum is definitely something that commands attention: there’s nothing particularly complicated in the setup to depressurize the vestibule, but I did double-check and triple-check it before opening the equalization valve that actually vented the vestibule atmosphere into space. In fact, I even had a feeling for a moment that my ears were popping, which would be a sign of the pressure in the cabin dropping; but the pressure indications were stable, so it was probably the hissing sound from the ongoing venting playing tricks on my eardrums.

Wednesday was one of those “keep-the-Station-in-shape” kind of days for me. Besides tearing down the leak check setup, I worked for example on an a periodic environmental monitoring activity that checks our potable water for coliform and other microbial growth in samples from our potable water lines after 48 hours of incubation. Luckily, I could report zero microbial colonies on the microbial capture device and no magenta color in the coloform detection packet, indicating a negative result. Always good to have confirmation that our drinking water is safe!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS  qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por Carlos Lallana Borobio aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-02-04 12:28:13 (55 comments; 73 reshares; 821 +1s; )Open 

L+68 to L+71 Logbook:

Well, here we are. Ten weeks have passed already: don’t know what’s going on up here, but time is going by way too fast!

On Friday I had another date with our space worms, the C. Elegans, as I wrapped up the week with a session of the experiment Epigenetics: I  separated again baby worms and adult worms, as I wrote about in a recent logbook, so now we have the third generation growing in the incubator, half of the samples in weightlessness and the other half in the 1G centrifuge.

I also took care of the Columbus internal cooling system last Friday. As you know, we use water to remove heat from equipment (via cold plates) and from the cabin (via the air conditioning system) and periodically we need to add the antimicrobial agent OPA to the water to make sure we don’t have any microbial growth in the lines. Actually, Terry did most of thework l... more »

L+68 to L+71 Logbook:

Well, here we are. Ten weeks have passed already: don’t know what’s going on up here, but time is going by way too fast!

On Friday I had another date with our space worms, the C. Elegans, as I wrapped up the week with a session of the experiment Epigenetics: I  separated again baby worms and adult worms, as I wrote about in a recent logbook, so now we have the third generation growing in the incubator, half of the samples in weightlessness and the other half in the 1G centrifuge.

I also took care of the Columbus internal cooling system last Friday. As you know, we use water to remove heat from equipment (via cold plates) and from the cabin (via the air conditioning system) and periodically we need to add the antimicrobial agent OPA to the water to make sure we don’t have any microbial growth in the lines. Actually, Terry did most of the work last week: I was only tasked on Friday to get a water sample after the OPA had been added. That water will return to Earth and be analyzed on the ground to check that we have indeed the desired OPA concentration.

On Saturday morning I usually sleep in – I’m a night owl, not an early riser – but this time I was up at 8 for a very special appointment. I got to talk on the HAM radio with students in Italy for a pass of about 10 minutes: the pupils of the institute “G. Bearzi” in Udine (hello!) and a very special group of young men and women from all over the world who are just starting their exchange semester in Italian schools thanks to the non-profit Intercultura or, internationally, AFS.  I was myself an Intercultura-AFS exchange student, spending a school year in the US, while my crewmate Terry spent a summer in Finland! And to all the exchange students on the planet who will read this: I am proud of you, I hope that you’ll enjoy your adventure,  that you’ll smile through the difficult times (they will come) and that you’ll recognize that this is a great gift and it brings with it responsibility. And I’m extremely grateful to the families who make this all possible by hosting an exchange student: thank you for your generosity, you rock!

OK – back to more down to Earth topics, so to speak: urine. Not very glamorous, I know, but it was at the center of my thoughts and my deeds for most of Monday. With ATV 5 scheduled to leave soon, a number of brine transfers into the ATV fluid tanks, now empty of potable water, were planned. Brine, as you might remember, is what is left over after recycling urine and it’s final waste product. Transferring it to ATV takes care of our disposal need, at the same time is also helps with the mass and center of mass issues that I have talked about in a previous logbook.

In the picture, I’m swapping a recycle tank full of brine for an empty one. A big monster, isn’t it?

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici: https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio    aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-01-31 10:51:04 (78 comments; 81 reshares; 941 +1s; )Open 

L+66, L+67: Logbook

In the last logbook I’ve mentioned that the ISS is a very busy laboratory these days, with many experiments going on in parallel in multiple disciplines. At the same time, this is also a spaceport where spaceships full of goods come and go. And right now, we have two vehicles, Dragon and ATV, which are going to leave in the next couple of weeks and need to be readied for departure and reentry. So, for a couple days I have (mostly) doffed my virtual lab coat, I have rolled up my sleeves and gotten into cargo-packing-and-loading mode.

Loading a vehicle for reentry into the atmosphere is a delicate process: the overall mass and how this mass is distributed (hence the center of mass) need to be known quite precisely in order to properly calculate the reentry burns for the desired reentry trajectory. That is especially true for a vehicle that is recovered onE... more »

L+66, L+67: Logbook

In the last logbook I’ve mentioned that the ISS is a very busy laboratory these days, with many experiments going on in parallel in multiple disciplines. At the same time, this is also a spaceport where spaceships full of goods come and go. And right now, we have two vehicles, Dragon and ATV, which are going to leave in the next couple of weeks and need to be readied for departure and reentry. So, for a couple days I have (mostly) doffed my virtual lab coat, I have rolled up my sleeves and gotten into cargo-packing-and-loading mode.

Loading a vehicle for reentry into the atmosphere is a delicate process: the overall mass and how this mass is distributed (hence the center of mass) need to be known quite precisely in order to properly calculate the reentry burns for the desired reentry trajectory. That is especially true for a vehicle that is recovered on Earth, like Dragon, but it’s also extremely important for ATV5, because this ship will perform a special controlled reentry in the initial phases to gather data that will help prepare for Space Station de-orbiting (when that time comes, which is not any time soon). I’m sure you’ll be able to read everything about ATV5’s so called “shallow reentry” on the ATV blog!

As you probably know, ATV is destroyed in the atmosphere, so we load it with trash: waste, packing material, old clothes and discarded items. And we are making sure that we fill it up to the maximum, because  after the loss of the Orbital -3 mission on launch last October, the logistics onboard has become challenging: we have a lot of “stuff” (very technical space term), that was supposed to be long gone by now! Also for this reason, we are even putting a limited amount of trash into Dragon, although this vehicle is recovered intact on the ground (or more specifically in the ocean) and therefore its main job is to take return cargo back home.

But how does this all work, if the distribution of mass needs to be so precise? Well, actually I don’t quite know. There is some miracle of planning and coordination happening on the ground and we receive two products onboard: a cargo list, that lists all the bags, their content, where to get them, where to put them and special packing instructions; and a choreography message, that tells you in which order to do the packing and, again, any special instructions (like taking pictures, reporting a serial number, packing an item in a particular direction). If there’s any free space in the bags, we fill it up with filler foam that cargo goods were launched in and with ziplocs of old clothes. And then hopefully they will fit in their assigned stowage areas – which of course have a location code, so we always know exactly where each bag is supposed to go.

On Wednesday, as we were busy planning, flight controllers flipped the Station around 180 degrees – instead of flying with Node 2 forward, we ended up flying with the Russian Service Module leading the way. It was absolutely unnoticeable to me – in fact, I had forgotten about it. I would have noticed immediately if I had looked out of the Cupola, of course, but that was not possible, because the shutters had to be closed all day due to the series of maneuvers. Here’s a new psychological disorder for you: Cupola Withdrawal Syndrome!

So, why did we fly “backwards” on Wednesday? Well, we had to point the thrusters of ATV forward, so that they could be fired to brake the Station just a little bit, enough to lower the apogee (the higher part of the orbit) by a couple of km. We typically use ATV to do just the opposite – raise the orbit periodically, with a so-called reboost – but this time a “deboost” was necessary to make our orbit just right for the next Progress vehicle coming up.

The deboost lasted about 4 min: I floated still in the US Lab and I let myself being propelled to the other side of the module as ATV was pushing the Station around me. It was fun!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio     aqui: http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook

(Trad DE)  Deutsch von http://www.logbuch-iss.de___

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2015-01-29 10:45:30 (36 comments; 55 reshares; 774 +1s; )Open 

L+59 to L+65: Logbook

Lots of experiments filling up my days this past week – sorry I didn’t keep you updated much, but it’s really busy up here on humanity’s outpost in space!

Some experiments were old acquaintances, like “Circadian Rhythms”, and several were new entries, like ESA’s “Airway Monitoring”. I talked about this latter pretty extensively in my training logbooks, like for example in L-129.

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/MtNoDoiRMfZ

For now, after some teething problems with the hardware (which is quite complex and partly used onboard for the first time), Terry and I got all the required data for the “normal” pressure session: in a few weeks we’ll perform the reduced pressure measurement, for which we will lock ourselves up in the airlock and lower the pressure around us.
 You know, I don’tthink that there any labor... more »

L+59 to L+65: Logbook

Lots of experiments filling up my days this past week – sorry I didn’t keep you updated much, but it’s really busy up here on humanity’s outpost in space!

Some experiments were old acquaintances, like “Circadian Rhythms”, and several were new entries, like ESA’s “Airway Monitoring”. I talked about this latter pretty extensively in my training logbooks, like for example in L-129.

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/MtNoDoiRMfZ

For now, after some teething problems with the hardware (which is quite complex and partly used onboard for the first time), Terry and I got all the required data for the “normal” pressure session: in a few weeks we’ll perform the reduced pressure measurement, for which we will lock ourselves up in the airlock and lower the pressure around us.
 You know, I don’t think that there any laboratory technicians on the planet who get to work on such a wide range of science as we do: I assume that all laboratories on Earth are more specialized and the scientists and technicians well trained on discipline-specific  tasks! We, on the other hand, don’t have refined skills and wide experience on any of the science activities we perform: in some cases we’ve had a training session many months ago, in other cases we get some training onboard, like videos or slides.

And of course some astronauts have a background in experimental science, but they are not the majority: most of us rely on very detailed procedures and, for the most complex operations, on real-time support from the ground by the experiment developers and/or the investigators. Sometimes they only talk to us via the regular communicators on duty in the control centers, like the Eurocom for ESA activities, while sometimes they are even enabled to talk to us directly on a space-to-ground channel, which in that case is dedicated only to them.

My own background in science is limited – what you get with an engineering degree – and if I had chosen an education in science, instead of engineering, it would have been physics, so even then I would have hardly had a chance to work with cell cultures and multi-generational experiments on fruit flies and worms. And I’m not sure that I would be cut for it as my full-time job – it probably requires more patience than I possess - but I do have a lot of fun working on these experiments here on ISS!

For example, on Monday I got to work again on the experiment “Epigenetics”.  My little friends in this case are not fruit flies, but another animal commonly used in research as a model for larger organisms: a millimeter-long worm called Caenorhabditis Elegans, for friends C. Elegans. And just like with the fruit flies, we want them to make babies: a total of four generations will grow onboard and specimen of each generation (adults and larvae) will be preserved in the freezer for return.

Dragon brought up the C.Elegans in starter syringes and I injected them into culture bags last week to start incubation. Then on Monday I extracted the babies using a special syringe equipped with a filter, that would not let the bigger adult worms go through. The first generation adults remained in the original culture bag and were frozen, while I inserted the second generation babies into another culture bag to let them further incubate.  The purpose of the experiment, as the name suggests, is to study inherited epigenetic changes: that means changes in gene expression, but not in the DNA itself. Let’s put it this way: the environment cannot change the genes in your DNA, but it can affect how your genes are expressed, or “activated”. The worms will adapt to weightlessness and that will cause changes in their gene expression, so the question is: how, if at all, will these changes be inherited by the offspring?

Fascinating, isn’t it?
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por Carlos Lallana Borobio
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook___

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2015-01-23 15:51:16 (62 comments; 50 reshares; 744 +1s; )Open 

L+57, L+58: Logbook
 
This has been one of those weeks when the subject of the experiment is often… me.

Human physiology has definitely been very present on my science schedule, starting already on the weekend, when I got to do some data gathering while sleeping! In fact, Dragon has brought me a very fancy night wardrobe: a vest for the Wearable Monitoring experiment that I had to wear for two nights in a row for the first data gather. This vest has been custom-made for me and is a very tight fit, because it integrates instruments that need to be adherent to the body: electrodes, for a “classic” electrocardiogram, and a three-axis accelerometer to monitor the mechanics of the heart, namely the opening and closing of the heart valves. The hypothesis to be tested here is that tiny variations in the cardiac functions cause micro-awakenings that compromise sleep quality onISS. A... more »

L+57, L+58: Logbook
 
This has been one of those weeks when the subject of the experiment is often… me.

Human physiology has definitely been very present on my science schedule, starting already on the weekend, when I got to do some data gathering while sleeping! In fact, Dragon has brought me a very fancy night wardrobe: a vest for the Wearable Monitoring experiment that I had to wear for two nights in a row for the first data gather. This vest has been custom-made for me and is a very tight fit, because it integrates instruments that need to be adherent to the body: electrodes, for a “classic” electrocardiogram, and a three-axis accelerometer to monitor the mechanics of the heart, namely the opening and closing of the heart valves. The hypothesis to be tested here is that tiny variations in the cardiac functions cause micro-awakenings that compromise sleep quality on ISS. Although I have to say, from a purely subjective and non-quantitative point of view of course, that I feel like I sleep great up here!
 
Early in the morning on Monday it was also time for the first session of Drain Brain. Actually, we already had an ultrasound session early on in the mission, but for this particular set of measurements we had to wait for the replacement hardware to be delivered on Dragon, following the loss of the Orbital-3 mission. Specific instruments for Drain Brain include three strain-gauge pletismoghraphs, which look like collars of a stretchable material, as you can see in the picture.  They are actually sensors able to measure blood flow in the veins in a very simple and non-invasive manner, which is not dependent on the skills and interpretation of the operator, as is the case with ultrasound. While wearing these collars on my neck, arm and leg, I performed a series of breaths at 70% of my lung capacity, either remaining still or stretching and flexing my hand or my ankle. While doing that, I was breathing into our Pulmonary Function System and the software, via a graphic interface, was giving me instructions on when to start exhaling or inhaling. The main goal of the experiment is to study how the return of blood from the head to the heart changes in space, since we don’t have gravity effects helping with that. It’s something that we know little about for now and a better understanding of these circulatory mechanisms could potentially help in understanding some degenerative diseases of the brain.
 
After Drain Brain, I moved on to the second in-flight session of the Cardio Ox experiment, taking ultrasound images of the carotid and brachial arteries and Doppler measurements of blood flow. And to wrap up the human physiology day, I also did another data collection for Skin-B, that I have told you about before. And since many of these experiments need a matching sample collection, on Tuesday I performed a 24-hour urine sample collection and “Terry the Vampire” (a close friend of “Terry Scissorhands” the hairdresser) got do draw blood from me.
 
But hey, as you know, there’s not only us humans on ISS! No, no, don’t get excited, I’m not aware of any stow-away alien living onboard nor of any UFO flying combat air patrols in the area, but we have of course our friendly fruit flies! Some of the cassettes with fly and larvae did end up in the freezer at this point, but I put more cassettes in the centrifuge and static position of their dedicated facility and this multi-generation project is continuing on. For some of the fixation operations I got to build and use a disposable glovebox, as you can see in the picture: I didn’t even know we had those onboard, the Space Station is always full of surprises!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook___

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2015-01-22 07:48:36 (45 comments; 96 reshares; 852 +1s; )Open 

L+55: Logbook

I know, I’m a bit late with the logbooks, but bear with me, I still want to bring you back to last week one more time, because last Friday we had a very special event on the Space Station: Butch,  Elena and I had the pleasure and honor to host in the Japanese Laboratory the finals of the 2014 Zero Robotics competition!

To participate in Zero Robotics, high school students need to write code that will control a SPHERES satellite – on Earth, of course, only in simulations, but for the teams that made it to the finals, their code actually controls one of the real SPHERES units we have on the Space Station.

SPHERES determine their position in space thanks to five beacons that we deploy in the JEM, thus defining the volume in which the satellites can operate. Small thrusters allow the SPHERES to move around and rotate as needed. Working gas for thethru... more »

L+55: Logbook

I know, I’m a bit late with the logbooks, but bear with me, I still want to bring you back to last week one more time, because last Friday we had a very special event on the Space Station: Butch,  Elena and I had the pleasure and honor to host in the Japanese Laboratory the finals of the 2014 Zero Robotics competition!

To participate in Zero Robotics, high school students need to write code that will control a SPHERES satellite – on Earth, of course, only in simulations, but for the teams that made it to the finals, their code actually controls one of the real SPHERES units we have on the Space Station.

SPHERES determine their position in space thanks to five beacons that we deploy in the JEM, thus defining the volume in which the satellites can operate. Small thrusters allow the SPHERES to move around and rotate as needed. Working gas for the thrusters is CO2, coming from small tanks that we can quickly changes out when empty.

At the beginning of every run we set two satellites in a predetermined initial position and orientation and then let go, letting the code of the two competing teams take control. While watching mostly the SPHERES moving around the cabin, we could also keep an eye on the computer display showing the virtual environment in which the satellites were moving, which included an asteroid in the middle of the volume: the tasks for the satellites was to take pictures of this asteroid. But that was not enough: to actually gain points, they needed to point their antennas to Earth and transmit the pictures, all the while dodging solar flare by taking refuge in a safe zone behind the satellite, or else risk having their stored pictures corrupted or even the satellite (virtually) damaged if hit by a flare.

Don’t think that writing good code was the only skill required here: Zero Robotics is very much a strategy game as well and it was fun to watch the different styles, some more cautious, some more aggressive.

Fuel management was a big concern as well: for each run a satellite had an allocated amount of CO2, once that had been consumed they would not be able to fire the thrusters any more. Unless, that is, the satellites would start moving outside the allowed volume, in which case the code from MIT would take over and fire the thrusters to bring them back.

MIT runs Spheres and the ZeroRobotics competitions and most of the US finalists were gathered there watching the finals live, while most of the European finalists were at the ESA facility ESTEC in the Netherlands, including a team who came all the way from Russia!
And several more Russian finalists were gathered in Moscow.

Actually, after the initial stages of the competition last year, teams had to join forces in alliances of three: I believe all of the alliances included teams from the US and from Europe, which I thought was great.

For the record, the Zero Robotics 2014 champions are the LakeElevenVADARS, the alliance of Team Lake (US), Cora’s Eleven (Italy) and VADARS (US). Heartfelt congratulations!

And to all who participated, we’re very proud of you up here: for your enthusiasm and dedication in participating in a game that tested your skills, your creative thinking and your ability to work in a team even across continents. You guys rock. And for 2015… GO Zero Robotics!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español por +Carlos Lallana Borobio aqui:
http://laesteladegagarin.blogspot.com.es/search/label/SamLogBook___

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2015-01-18 21:41:47 (52 comments; 63 reshares; 711 +1s; )Open 

L+53: Logbook
 
After the unplanned excitement of Wednesday, we woke up on Thursday morning to return to relative normality. Relative, because external cooling loop B was still shut down and unpressurized: due to the possible presence of gas bubbles after Wednesday’s events, the re-pressurization was a delicate process that would take the ground a few days to perform safely (Loop B is back online as of today, Sunday, as I’m writing this).
 
Ventilation was restored that morning, meaning that camping was over and we would be able to get back into our crew quarters, but cooling in Node 2 relies on Loop B, so it was going to be a bit warmer for a few nights (I think that I didn’t mind that part at all).

We also had no cooling in Node 3, where we have our treadmill T2, so we did our daily cardiovascular training in the Lab on CEVIS, our space bike.  The othermodules ... more »

L+53: Logbook
 
After the unplanned excitement of Wednesday, we woke up on Thursday morning to return to relative normality. Relative, because external cooling loop B was still shut down and unpressurized: due to the possible presence of gas bubbles after Wednesday’s events, the re-pressurization was a delicate process that would take the ground a few days to perform safely (Loop B is back online as of today, Sunday, as I’m writing this).
 
Ventilation was restored that morning, meaning that camping was over and we would be able to get back into our crew quarters, but cooling in Node 2 relies on Loop B, so it was going to be a bit warmer for a few nights (I think that I didn’t mind that part at all).

We also had no cooling in Node 3, where we have our treadmill T2, so we did our daily cardiovascular training in the Lab on CEVIS, our space bike.  The other modules had cooling because it had been possible to transition them to “single-loop”, which entails connecting the two internal cooling loops and have them reject their combined heat load via external loop A, the one unaffected by the previous day’s events.
 
Because of the loop B situation, we were also did not have all the power channels available, causing some limitations, but nothing dramatic: in JEM and COL, for example, we only had half of the lights working and one of the two communication panels available. Nothing that would prevent the science activities to pick up the pace again and shortly after our morning planning conference with the ground, Butch, Terry and I were getting started with our respective experiments and the Space Station was a very busy laboratory again!
 
I had been tasked with setting up the Fruit Flies Lab. Yes, Dragon brought up some living company in form of about a hundred fruit flies or, to be formal, Drosophila Melanogaster. Actually, by now we probably have more: the point is to observe multiple generations and the short life span of fruit flies makes that possible. And since we share with those tiny fellows about 77% of the genes known to be involved in disease, they are a very interesting animal model!
 
The flies came up in cassettes, that you can see in the pictures. As I retrieved them one by one from the foam cutouts in their transfer boxes, it was good to see that they were alive and healthy: as far as I could tell, they were very happy astroflies in space!

Each fly cassette was matched to a special food changeout platform, with which I could insert fresh food without breaking containment, while simultaneously extracting larvae for preservation in our MELFI freezer. After the food changeout, I inserted each cassette in a specific location in one of the Nanorack facilities: as it’s commonly done in life science experiments, half of the cassette were stowed in a centrifuge to simulate normal Earth gravity, while the other half was stowed in a static location, hence in weightlessness.

Moreover, each cassette was paired with a small camera unit that monitors the flies behavior and provides an artificial day/night cycle.
 
It was a very gratifying work, looking forward to the next feeding cycle!
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-17 21:27:13 (71 comments; 83 reshares; 793 +1s; )Open 

L+51, L+52: Logbook

Hello everybody, now that things have mostly returned to normal on ISS, it’s time to catch up with the logbooks of the week. And what a week it has been!

Looking back to Tuesday, we got to ingress Dragon and unload all the urgent cargo, mainly everything that needed to be in cold stowage. And then on to Wednesday when, as you might have heard, we had quite some excitement here onboard and in the control centers around the world as the ammonia leak alarm went off.

I had just finished a monthly video conference with my ESA management and I was about to start a review of the installation procedure for the Airway Monitoring experiment on the laptop in my crew quarters, when all the speakers throughout the Station started to transmit the one tone sure to catch everybody’s immediate attention: the emergency tone.

I came out of my crewqua... more »

L+51, L+52: Logbook

Hello everybody, now that things have mostly returned to normal on ISS, it’s time to catch up with the logbooks of the week. And what a week it has been!

Looking back to Tuesday, we got to ingress Dragon and unload all the urgent cargo, mainly everything that needed to be in cold stowage. And then on to Wednesday when, as you might have heard, we had quite some excitement here onboard and in the control centers around the world as the ammonia leak alarm went off.

I had just finished a monthly video conference with my ESA management and I was about to start a review of the installation procedure for the Airway Monitoring experiment on the laptop in my crew quarters, when all the speakers throughout the Station started to transmit the one tone sure to catch everybody’s immediate attention: the emergency tone.

I came out of my crew quarters and looked at the Lab aft bulkhead, the closest Caution and Warning Panel I could put my eyes on, and there it was, the third light from the left was lit red: even without reading the label, I know that the third light is the dreaded ammonia leak. Not that I cherish the thought of having a fire or a depressurization (the other two scenario that can trigger an emergency alarm), but ammonia, I am told, can kill you really fast. I couldn’t distinguish any ammonia odor in the cabin, but I certainly didn’t sniff around much: I immediately grabbed an oxygen mask, put it on and headed towards the Russian segment together with Terry, Butch and Sasha. Elena and Anton were in the Russian segment already at the time.

After making sure that nobody was left behind, we closed the hatch isolating the Russian from the American segment of the Station and started to prepare the ammonia measurement equipment and the ammonia respirators. Before I go any further, if you’re interested in some background (like why there is a danger of an ammonia leak, or why the Russian segment is a safe haven or how the ammonia response looks like), you can take a look at my training Logbooks:

L-140
https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/CCSCjK5Ecyd

 *L-142*
https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/Diz3P69T3fV  
Back to our story… a few minutes after the tone went off, Houston called and declared it a false alarm, so we stood down from the emergency response and came back to the US segment, finding it of course unusually quiet, since the vehicle auto-response had shut down all of the Station’s many fans.

Why a false alarm? Well, looking at the telemetry from Station, the flight controllers couldn’t initially find any confirming cues that there was indeed an ammonia leak and everything pointed instead to a computer malfunction. But that was just the beginning of a long day for everybody…

As we were starting to restow the emergency equipment and get back to normal, we received the unexpected call from CAPCOM: “Ammonia leak. Execute emergency response. Ammonia leak, execute emergency response. Ammonia leak, execute emergency response”. 

As we learned later, Houston had in the meantime started to see some signatures in the telemetry that could possibly indicate a real leak of ammonia into the cabin, in particular a slight increase in the cabin pressure: at the very least, a real leak could not be ruled out at that point any more.

So we put on our masks and took refuge in the Russian segment again. Even more than the first time, I believe that the thought did cross everybody’s mind as we closed the hatch: we might never reopen it again.

We went through the full ammonia response procedure and, after swapping the oxygen masks for the respirators with ammonia filters, could confirm with Draeger tubes that the atmosphere in the Russian segment was uncontaminated, hence safe to breath.

We doffed the respirators and eventually we all gathered in the Russian Service Module, eager to hear words from Houston about the suspected leak. We learned that to mitigate the possible leak, the pump in the external cooling loop B had been shut down and that the loop pressure had been reduced, but we were relieved to hear that the ammonia had not been vented from the loop into space: a possible scenario in a situation like this, but also an action that would cripple the Space Station for a long time.

Following the shutdown of the loop, a thermal clock had started for a lot of equipment onboard: if not shut down within a certain time, it would overheat. So control centers in several countries were busy trying to do a powerdown that would have as little impact as possible on Station systems and science.

I think you get the point: the control centers had the hard job from now on. We were safe, doing well and with very little to do, except waiting. Knowing what a stressful time the guys and girls on the ground were having, we tried to keep quiet and never asked for any update, patiently waiting for them to call us, which of course they did periodically.

At every update if became more and more clear that everything pointed to a false alarm, but we were not sure that we would be allowed to leave the Russian segment before the next day.

In all of this time, our Russian colleagues were incredibly hospitable.  They even gave us three food containers that we could use for ourselves, so we wouldn’t feel bad about digging into their containers or asking all the time. When the power was restored to the power outlets I could give a quick call to my family to let them know I was OK. And Elena let me borrow her internet-access computer, so I could write a short tweet and make sure everybody knew that we were doing fine.

We didn’t know what information the media were reporting and we were concerned that people might be worried about us.

Eventually, in the early evening, we received instructions to reopen the hatch and go back. To be really safe, we all put on our ammonia respirators. Houston directed us to send two people forward to sample the atmosphere first and Butch decided that he and Terry, as the Soyuz right seaters, would go. After a few minutes they called back declaring that the readings were negative and we had the final confirmation: there had been no ammonia leak!

After a day of waiting, we were ready for action: we quickly gathered all the used emergency equipment, restowing what would be reused, trashing what needed to be discarded. We tagged up with Houston about the oxygen masks: how many had we used and how best to redeploy the remaining masks on Station to make sure we were ready to respond to any other emergency. And we took a few actions that could not be performed remotely by the ground to safe equipment following the powerdowns.

Finally, we got ready for bedtime: since ventilation had not been restored in Node 2, Columbus and JEM, we could not sleep in our crew quarters and had to camp out in the aft modules. I setup my camping spot in the Lab: camping in weightlessness is really easy, you just attach your sleeping bag to a handrail and you’re ready for a good night sleep!

By the next day, we were ready to jump back into the busy science program of the next weeks, thanks to the quick re-planning work done on the ground. 

By the way, as unfortunate as this event was, in many ways we were lucky: Dragon was fully berthed, all the urgent cold stowage items had been removed, none of us was working on an experiment that would suffer damage if delayed or left unattended.

That would have been the case, for example for the ESA “T-Cell” experiment, which I performed on Tuesday: had the ammonia alarm gone off on that day, we would have lost the science. So, in the end, we were lucky: must be because, on Expedition 42, we always know where our towel is!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST  qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-14 12:58:49 (96 comments; 110 reshares; 1,148 +1s; )Open 

L+50: Logbook

My 50th day in space and certainly a big day here on ISS yesterday – as I’m sure you’ve heard, Dragon has arrived! We now have a new room attached to Node 2 nadir, right next to our crew quarters : all the time I’ve been up here there was a hatch to vacuum there, now I can make the turn and “dive down” into Dragon. Our home in space just got bigger!

Approach and capture happened in the morning and, at least from what we could tell from our perspective, everything went really well. It was quite touching to watch this vehicle approach ISS and to discern more and more details as it came closer, a messenger from Earth bringing supplies to the only six humans currently not on the planet. 

I was impressed at how steady it was as it came up from below us: you could hardly notice it controlling its position and attitude. As it stopped at the lastholding poin... more »

L+50: Logbook

My 50th day in space and certainly a big day here on ISS yesterday – as I’m sure you’ve heard, Dragon has arrived! We now have a new room attached to Node 2 nadir, right next to our crew quarters : all the time I’ve been up here there was a hatch to vacuum there, now I can make the turn and “dive down” into Dragon. Our home in space just got bigger!

Approach and capture happened in the morning and, at least from what we could tell from our perspective, everything went really well. It was quite touching to watch this vehicle approach ISS and to discern more and more details as it came closer, a messenger from Earth bringing supplies to the only six humans currently not on the planet. 

I was impressed at how steady it was as it came up from below us: you could hardly notice it controlling its position and attitude. As it stopped at the last holding point at 30 meters it felt already so close, I couldn’t believe that it would get still 20 meters closer before we could grapple it, but of course out there we don’t have many references to gauge distance. It arrived at the capture point, at 10 meters distance, during orbital night, with the red and green lights on the sides reflecting beautifully on the solar arrays. Just after sunrise we got a “GO for capture” from Houston and Butch smoothly maneuvered the robotic arm onto the grapple pin and pulled the trigger to initiate the capture sequence.  I had all the malfunction cue cards ready, but fortunately there was no need for them. Everything went perfectly!

After that we safed the arm and ground took control to maneuver the Dragon to its berthing position at the Node 2 nadir port. Once the bolts that create a solid mechanical connection were driven, I received a go to leak check the vestibule: if you’re wondering what that is, let’s say that it’s the space between the doors.

We have a hatch on our side, Dragon has a hatch on its side: when the hatches are open, we need a pressure-tight “corridor” in between that allows us to go through; that is called the vestibule. Just after berthing, the vestibule is at vacuum: if you think about it, it’s outside of the hatch on our side and outside of the hatch on the Dragon side. Before we equalize pressure and open the hatch, it’s important to make sure that the vestibule doesn’t leak. For that purpose I opened a patch between the vestibule and the ISS cabin atmosphere and pressurized the vestibule to 260 mmHg, then verified that the pressure remained stable for 20 minutes. At that point, I fully equalized pressure and Terry and Butch took over to open the hatch and work on reconfiguring the vestibule for the time Dragon will stay on ISS.

At some point, once the hatch on our side was open, Terry invited me to smell the “smell of space” in the vestibule. It’s sort of a joke, of course, space itself doesn’t smell. But it’s apparently the typical smell of hardware that has been exposed to vacuum. Not a pleasant odor, I tell you:  I’d say the dominant component is “burned” with a touch of “rotten”. But hey, if that means that a spaceship came to visit, I’ll take it anytime!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-12 10:06:55 (66 comments; 67 reshares; 921 +1s; )Open 

Logbook: L+48, L+49

Dragon has definitely been in the center of our thoughts this weekend.

First of all, as you can imagine, after several delays, we were very happy when we saw the successful liftoff yesterday. To be more specific, we watched a replay, we weren’t able to watch the launch live, although we were “tuned in” on NASA TV at that time.

Yes, you heard it right, we can watch TV up here… sort of. There is a videoconferencing system and on one of our laptops, located in Node 1 where we eat, Mission Control can stream a TV channel on our request. I’m not much into TV myself, so most of the time we watch ESPN, a US sports channel that Terry and Butch are very fond of. But for special events like the Dragon launch we request NASA TV.

Unfortunately this is not an interruption-free service, and I’m not talking about commercials. Thevideoconfer... more »

Logbook: L+48, L+49

Dragon has definitely been in the center of our thoughts this weekend.

First of all, as you can imagine, after several delays, we were very happy when we saw the successful liftoff yesterday. To be more specific, we watched a replay, we weren’t able to watch the launch live, although we were “tuned in” on NASA TV at that time.

Yes, you heard it right, we can watch TV up here… sort of. There is a videoconferencing system and on one of our laptops, located in Node 1 where we eat, Mission Control can stream a TV channel on our request. I’m not much into TV myself, so most of the time we watch ESPN, a US sports channel that Terry and Butch are very fond of. But for special events like the Dragon launch we request NASA TV.

Unfortunately this is not an interruption-free service, and I’m not talking about commercials. The videoconferencing system (like our email, internet access and two of our four Space-to-Ground channels) only work when our Ku-Band antennas have coverage. Interruptions are quite frequent and can range from a few minutes to even a full hour. The Dragon launch occurred during one of those gaps in coverage, which we call LOS (Loss-Of-Signal).

Anyway, back to our main topic, getting ready for Dragon arrival. Butch and I had a final training session today in which we practiced the capture. I have written about the capture choreography and our respective roles in Logbook L+19, in case you missed it.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/LA7vcFfKb3R

As M2, one of my big responsibilities will be to watch out for any off-nominal signature and be ready to run the appropriate response: we would call that “running the malfunction cue-cards”. 

Today I wrote a number on the cue card next to every malfunction and I asked our instructor on the ground to call out a number during the approach and capture, so I could practice mentally determining the appropriate response, without really interfering with Butch’s capture practice.

Since during one of the runs we were in Ku-LOS (see above) and had no com with our instructor, Butch started unexpectedly to randomly call out numbers while he was flying the arm. Great training! And by the way, although we train for the worse scenarios, we all count on Dragon and the arm working flawlessly tomorrow. And Terry will take some awesome pictures: he spent a lot of time today setting up cameras and knowing his skills, it will be good!

Hey, one little thing I would like to share from our past Christmas holidays, actually from Christmas day. Terry was so thoughtful to fly up for me a golden astronaut pin, which you get when you actually fly to space, and he gave it to me as a Christmas present. That was so nice and totally unexpected. And Butch gave me the Soyuz Mach-25 patch. Don’t I have wonderful crewmates?

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

  #SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-10 23:38:31 (46 comments; 57 reshares; 871 +1s; )Open 

Logbook: L+46, L+47
 
We’re not scheduled to work here on the Space Station this weekend after all, except for the usual cleaning activities. As you might have heard, the Dragon resupply vehicle is not here yet, so we’re not rushing to get urgent cargo out and get the science started. The good news is that it’s off the ground now. Hurrah and congratulations!

So Butch and I will have a final on-board training session tomorrow to get us ready to capture Dragon on Monday. On Tuesday we’ll ingress and start a challenging few weeks of intense scientific and logistics work, before we send Dragon back at the end of its mission.
The mission of ATV5 will also come to an end next month and that’s of course a big vehicle to load.

Most of its time onboard it has remained quite empty, because of center of mass considerations in case of an emergency undocking.Fortunatel... more »

Logbook: L+46, L+47
 
We’re not scheduled to work here on the Space Station this weekend after all, except for the usual cleaning activities. As you might have heard, the Dragon resupply vehicle is not here yet, so we’re not rushing to get urgent cargo out and get the science started. The good news is that it’s off the ground now. Hurrah and congratulations!

So Butch and I will have a final on-board training session tomorrow to get us ready to capture Dragon on Monday. On Tuesday we’ll ingress and start a challenging few weeks of intense scientific and logistics work, before we send Dragon back at the end of its mission.
The mission of ATV5 will also come to an end next month and that’s of course a big vehicle to load.

Most of its time onboard it has remained quite empty, because of center of mass considerations in case of an emergency undocking. Fortunately in the past weeks we’ve had permission to progressively move more and more trash to ATV, which has freed up a lot of space in our stowage module, the PMM,  and made it a lot easier to find things in there!  In fact, the unfortunate mishap of the Orb-3 mission back in October was not only a loss of cargo, but also meant that we have quite a bit of trash onboard now that would otherwise be gone by now.

Yesterday Butch and I installed adapter plates on top of the filled stowage compartments on the walls of ATV – more bags of trash will be secured to these adapters, so that we fill the internal volume as much as possible. As you can see in the picture, it’s starting to look a bit like caving working in there, it’s kind of fun!

On Thursday, I also worked with the Spheres again most of the day – you can find more on Spheres on Logbook L+23. The finals of the ZeroRobotics competitions are approaching fast (good luck!), but this was a actually a series of test runs using a smartphone and its camera, attached to one of the Spheres, to navigate.

I also did some work with our acoustic dosimeters, taking 24-hour measurements of the noise levels in specific locations on ISS. Before that, we all carried a personal dosimeter with us for a 24-hour period, so we all had a big mic attached to our collar. Very stylish!

The loudest place on ISS is by far the immediate vicinity of the T2 treadmill when someone is running on it, especially a fast runner. That’s why there is a recommendation to wear earplugs whenever we run: we have custom made earplugs with speakers that protect us from the treadmill noise and at the same time allow us to listen to music while working out.

Besides the dosimeters, in the past holiday weeks we’ve been tasked with several activities that need to performed periodically to monitor the ISS environment and equipment. One day Terry, Butch and I were all going systematically through the modules: Terry was verifying the condition of all our emergency equipment (the oxygen masks and fire extinguishers stowed throughout ISS); Butch was taking water samples from the cooling lines; and I was measuring the airflow velocity through the ventilation grids, which the ground analyzes to determine if there’s any blockage or clogging of the filters.

I guess it’s like the periodic inspection on your car, except that the ISS is infinitely more complex and we can’t take it to a garage to get it fixed!
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-08 12:48:54 (55 comments; 54 reshares; 730 +1s; )Open 

Logbook: L+44, +45

Today it’s Christmas again! That’s right: Russia, a predominantly Orthodox country, celebrates Christmas on January 7th, so last night we had a Christmas Eve get together with our Russian crewmates.

On the Space Station this is typically a day off in the Russian segment only, but today Terry, Butch and I also got a free day, because we expect to work on the weekend following the arrival of Dragon. We were therefore free to join Sasha, Elena and Anton on their videocon with their families, who had gathered in Mission Control Moscow.

Father Ioav, the very kind Star City priest, even brought in a small choir to sing Christmas songs to us, including the Italian favorite “Tu scendi dalle stelle” beautifully performed with impeccable pronunciation!

Looking back at yesterday, I performed a third run of the ESA experiment Skin-B, studyingthe eff... more »

Logbook: L+44, +45

Today it’s Christmas again! That’s right: Russia, a predominantly Orthodox country, celebrates Christmas on January 7th, so last night we had a Christmas Eve get together with our Russian crewmates.

On the Space Station this is typically a day off in the Russian segment only, but today Terry, Butch and I also got a free day, because we expect to work on the weekend following the arrival of Dragon. We were therefore free to join Sasha, Elena and Anton on their videocon with their families, who had gathered in Mission Control Moscow.

Father Ioav, the very kind Star City priest, even brought in a small choir to sing Christmas songs to us, including the Italian favorite “Tu scendi dalle stelle” beautifully performed with impeccable pronunciation!

Looking back at yesterday, I performed a third run of the ESA experiment Skin-B, studying the effects of space environment on the skin: if you missed it, I talked about it in greater detail in the L+11 Logbook.

https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/9Z8Khr7brCi

I also got to dive into the bowels of our space toilet again: in that same L+11 Logbook I mentioned refilling the flush water tank, this time I changed the pre-treat tank. Pre-treat is a fluid that is added in small quantity to flush water and provides some chemical treatment of the urine. There is a component, called dose pump, that provides the necessary pre-treat quantity at the beginning of every use. In fact, every time we turn on the toilet (which means turning on the fan that provides suction) we need to check for the dose-pump light to come on for a few seconds and then go out. If it doesn’t, there is a problem. This happened to me just this past Sunday, actually: the dose pump light did not go out and a red fault light came on instead. After some troubleshooting lead by specialists on the ground, the conclusion was made that the dose-pump had failed and Terry had the replacement on his schedule for Monday.

Before this could be successfully completely, the Node 3 toilet was out of service. Luckily we do have redundancy onboard: the Russian service module has another toilet – in fact that was the original toilet of the space station and the toilet in Node 3 is exactly  the same design with some modifications to account for urine transfer directly to the Urine Processing Assembly.

Of course, it’s really preferable for us to use the Node 3 toilet: not only it’s a lot closer, but we avoid disturbing Anton and Elena, who sleep not very far from the Russian toilet.

As you know, we’re also ready to receive the Dragon cargo ship here soon. In preparation for berthing, I got to do something which did feel somewhat disturbing for a moment: I unlatched the Node 2 hatch, which is where Dragon will be berthed. Right now, of course, it leads to vacuum. We do that to avoid any issues with the latch-unlatch mechanism on ingress day: several science payloads on Dragon are time-critical and a delay in hatch opening and transfer could cause a loss of science. Of course, the hatch opens to the inside, so even if the mechanism is unlatched, there is no way it can open against the internal pressure of the Space Station. But I guess I’m not the first one to feel strange about unlatching it: the include a reminder that there is a force of about 39,000 lbf keeping the hatch closed when the modules is pressurized. Btw, this also means that hatches opening to the outside would be a very bad idea (yes, I’m thinking of you, “Gravity”).
 
Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamsLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2015-01-06 01:04:42 (107 comments; 77 reshares; 1,015 +1s; )Open 

Logbook: L+43

Sorry, sorry, sorry!

My apologies, I never meant for this logbook to take a break for the holidays, but this is exactly what ended up happening. It’s not been an especially busy time up here on ISS, but I did take some more time for personal matters, friends and family.

So, here we are, almost a week into 2015 already. By the way, as our Lead Flight Director Tomas pointed out (hallo Tomas!) for a full month the calendar date and the GMT date match, so I will actually know what day it is for a change.

Don’t know if I ever mentioned this explicitly, but the Station runs on GMT time, or more properly UTC, which corresponds to the Greenwich time zone. We also like to indicate what day it is by counting up from 1 to 365. In Station jargon, today is GMT 005. Might actually be that GMT is not a correct definition for this, but it’s the usage inthe I... more »

Logbook: L+43

Sorry, sorry, sorry!

My apologies, I never meant for this logbook to take a break for the holidays, but this is exactly what ended up happening. It’s not been an especially busy time up here on ISS, but I did take some more time for personal matters, friends and family.

So, here we are, almost a week into 2015 already. By the way, as our Lead Flight Director Tomas pointed out (hallo Tomas!) for a full month the calendar date and the GMT date match, so I will actually know what day it is for a change.

Don’t know if I ever mentioned this explicitly, but the Station runs on GMT time, or more properly UTC, which corresponds to the Greenwich time zone. We also like to indicate what day it is by counting up from 1 to 365. In Station jargon, today is GMT 005. Might actually be that GMT is not a correct definition for this, but it’s the usage in the ISS world. It’s easy to see how by, say, GMT 072 you’ve lost track of what the real date is!

GMT 365, of course, was pretty easy to recognize as New Year’s Eve. We had a grand time celebrating multiple times down in the Russian Service module. We started with midnight Moscow-time, of course, and then on to midnight Central European time and finally our own midnight on Station. By the way, many have asked whether we could see any fireworks from space. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out very well: from a few days before New Year’s Eve and until today we didn’t have a proper, fully dark night on Station. It was what we call a high-Beta period, a time in which the relative positions of the Sun, the Earth and the Space Station are such that we are never completely without sunlight. In other words, for several days we were flying all the time very close to the terminator, the line between day and night on Earth. The Sun was either just above the horizon, creating very dramatic long shadows on the planet, or just below the horizon, with the twilight lasting until the next sunrise. 

What I loved the most was the shades of intense blue and orange that appear on the Earth horizon just before or after sunrise: during high-Beta the time this colorful stripe is visible a lot longer, so you can really rest your gaze on it. But I did miss seeing the city lights and the stars in the darkness, so welcome back night. We missed you!

Hey, at New Year’s Eve we actually danced, you know? Not sure that it looked like dancing from the outside, but since nobody watched besides our close space family here, and we were very much convinced that we were dancing, we danced: it’s our story, and we’re sticking to it!

Sasha and Anton even played songs by Adriano Celentano, a very famous and not-so-young-anymore Italian singer. He is to this day incredibly popular in Russia and I have yet to meet a Russian who doesn’t know his most popular tunes.

Which brings me back to a story from our launch I’d like to share. As you might remember, Terry, Anton and I each picked a few songs that were played to us in the last 40 minutes before launch. Anton decided to include a few Celentano songs and selected one of his favorite tunes, without having any understanding whatsoever of the lyrics. So imagine my surprise when, sitting on top of a rocket with the hatch closed and the access towers retracted, I hear these words in my headphones: “E’ inutile suonare qui non aprira’ nessuno, il mondo l’abbiam chiuso fuori con il suo casino!” which translates as “No point in ringing the bell, nobody will open the door; we have left the world and its chaos outside”.  Talk about picking the right soundtrack!

Not only we had locked the world outside (or the world had locked us inside), but we were space-bound! After a few hours we arrived to the Space Station – that was an early morning 42 days ago, by the way. A good occasion for a friendly reminder from your friendly Expedition 42: “42” is the answer, so don’t panic and always know where your towel is!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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2014-12-24 10:32:43 (207 comments; 113 reshares; 1,150 +1s; )Open 

Logbook: L+30

Happy 24th of December! It’s Christmas Eve, of course – a very special time for many people on Earth and for us on the Space Station. Much more humbly, it’s also the 1-month mark for Terry, Anton and me: on the 24th of November we arrived to our new home in space. Time flies, doesn’t it?

One of the peculiar things about living up here on ISS is that you have no commute at all. I’m fortunate that I never had significant commutes to school or to work in my life, but this beats them all: you wake up in the morning and you are already at work. If you’re one of those people who enjoys the commute as a buffer time, you’d be in trouble!

The first thing I do in the morning before even fully getting out of my sleeping bag is to open the lid of my laptop in my crew quarter and check the day’s plan on the electronic agenda, called OSTPV (On-BoardShort Term Plan... more »

Logbook: L+30

Happy 24th of December! It’s Christmas Eve, of course – a very special time for many people on Earth and for us on the Space Station. Much more humbly, it’s also the 1-month mark for Terry, Anton and me: on the 24th of November we arrived to our new home in space. Time flies, doesn’t it?

One of the peculiar things about living up here on ISS is that you have no commute at all. I’m fortunate that I never had significant commutes to school or to work in my life, but this beats them all: you wake up in the morning and you are already at work. If you’re one of those people who enjoys the commute as a buffer time, you’d be in trouble!

The first thing I do in the morning before even fully getting out of my sleeping bag is to open the lid of my laptop in my crew quarter and check the day’s plan on the electronic agenda, called OSTPV (On-Board Short Term Plan Viewer, or something similar).

We typically get the plan the night before, but changes could have been uploaded during the night. Moreover, during our post-sleep period in the morning there could be very short activities that are actually reminders: for example, no caffeine today for 2 hours before a certain experiment; remember that you’re closing up a urine collection this morning; no exercise this morning before 5 and 7 (not that I would be a candidate for that, but some crewmembers are early risers and enjoy working out in the morning).

This morning my day started again with a meeting with… Terry the Vampire! Just kidding, of course: Terry is a great Crew Medical Officer and always does an awesome job with my blood draws. As usual, after taking the blood samples and waiting the 30-minute coagulation time, I put the tubes in our centrifuge for another 30 minutes, before storing them in one of our MELFI freezers, where they will await an opportunity for return to Earth.

A lot of human physiology experiments have a “Flight Day 30” requirement for data so, besides the blood draw, I have been doing another 24-hour urine collection and I have been wearing again the temperature sensors on my forehead and sternum for the ESA experiment Circadian Rhythms. In addition I ran another series of measurements on my skin for the experiment, Skin-B, which I talked about in the L+11 Logbook.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/9Z8Khr7brCi

I also got to dive a little bit in the belly of Columbus for a water sampling activity. Water runs in the internal cooling lines of all the non-Russian modules and periodically we need to access the lines via dedicated sampling ports and get some water out. I took two samples yesterday: one will be returned to the ground for analysis; the second one was for immediate testing with an ammonia test strip. Presence of ammonia in the water would indicate some leakage at the interface between the internal cooling lines (water) and the external cooling lines (ammonia): since ammonia is very toxic, that would be a very unfortunate finding. But luckily the test strip didn’t show any ammonia in the Columbus water!

Merry Christmas from us all up here on the Space Station!

Futura mission website (Italian): Avamposto42
avamposto42.esa.int

#SamLogbook #Futura42  

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiCAST qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha

(Trad ES - Currently not updated) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora___

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